Sasakawa USA Newsletter February 26, 2021
Included in this issue of the newsletter:

  • Message from Sasakawa USA's Chairman, Satohiro Akimoto

February Activities
  • Remembering Dr. Ezra Vogel with Dr. Steven K. Vogel, Mr. Glen S. Fukushima, and Dr. Joseph S. Nye Jr.
  • Policy Briefing: Crisis in Myanmar: Pathways for U.S.-Japan Cooperation Featuring Dr. David Steinberg, Min. Shinichi Iida, and Amb. Derek Mitchell
  • Policy Briefing: Charting a Shared Course: U.S.-Japan Security in 2021 and Beyond Featuring RADM James Kelly, USN (Ret.) and Dr. Takako Hikotani
  • Congressional Study Group on Japan: First 100 Days of the 117th Congress 
  • Congressional Program on U.S.-Japan and the Indo-Pacific: New Program Initiated in Partnership with the East-West Center of Washington
  • The Japan U.S. Military Program (JUMP): JUMP Honolulu
  • USJETAA Mini-Grant Program: JETAASC: Connecting Little Tokyo's Past and Present
  • USJETAA Mini-Grant Program: JETAA Chicago: Mixed Multitudes
  • Washington Discussion Group: A Discussion with Mr. Gary Martin
  • Roundtable Discussion: Dr. Akimoto Joins Discussion at British Think Tank
  • Lecture: Dr. Akimoto Speaks at Hawaii Aloha Life Enrichment Association

Publications
  • Japan Times: Diversity is Key to Japan’s Relations with the U.S. (Akimoto)

Upcoming Activities
  • Japan U.S. Military Program (JUMP) Annual Event: Operation TOMODACHI: A Ten-Year Commemoration
  • The Japan U.S. Military Program (JUMP): JUMP San Diego
  • Partnered 3.11 Commemoration Event: Remembering March 11, 2021: Looking Back, Looking Forward
Message from Sasakawa USA's Chairman, Satohiro Akimoto
“3-11” 2021 will be the ten-year anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake.

I was on the top floor of a high-rise building in the Marunouchi area of Tokyo at 14:46 JST on Friday, March 11, 2011. Earthquakes are nothing new to us living in Japan. However, at that fateful moment, we immediately knew that “this one is different.” Though we were roughly 250 miles away from the earthquake’s epicenter, which was in the ocean near the Oshika Peninsula in Miyagi, the modern high-rise building shook so violently that we could literally not remain standing.

My families are originally from Miyagi and Fukushima, which were hard hit by the earthquake and subsequent tsunami. While I was far away from Tohoku and was only watching the terrible horror unfold on the television, the physical destruction and psychological damages inflicted by the earthquake and tsunami were personal to me. About a year after the disaster struck, I visited the city of Ishinomaki, which was one of the most devastated cities near the epicenter. It was where my maternal grandfather spent his boyhood. Everything was gone.

Amid the deepest despair, people in Tohoku showed their quiet grit in an orderly way to meet the unbelievable challenges and survive. Japanese people around the country did their best to try to be helpful to people in Tohoku. Of course, not everything was positive. But overall, Japanese people showed their usual “ganbaru spirit” (to persevere and do one’s best) to help each other and meet the challenges. Scars, both physical and psychological, are still deep and raw for many, but people have been trying to find a way to move forward with their lives.

Japan was fortunate to receive a great deal of relief support both in goods and well wishes from the international community. Japanese people were so grateful for the goodness of those around the world. Within two months after the earthquake, 23 countries and regions sent emergency rescue personnel and medical experts to local communities, which were greatly afflicted by the earthquake and tsunami. International organizations, such as United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and World Food Programme (WFP) also sent their specialists.

The United States began to extend a wide range of disaster relief to Japan, such as search and rescue crews, medical treatment, shelter, food, water, transportation, and nuclear power plant management, immediately following the earthquake and tsunami. The most impactful and immediate disaster relief measures were executed under the framework of Operation TOMODACHI, which was based on a request by Foreign Minister Takeaki Matsumoto to U.S. Ambassador John Roos.

Most of the U.S. bases in Japan were involved in these efforts from March 12 to May 4, 2011. At the peak of Operation TOMODACHI, some 24,000 service men and women, 24 ships, and 189 airplanes and helicopters were deployed to the areas most afflicted by the earthquake and tsunami. Japanese people are grateful to all U.S. service men and women, who worked closely with their Japan Self-Defense Force counterparts at the time of national crisis. Japanese people directly saw the U.S.-Japan Security Alliance in action in Operation TOMODACHI. Incidentally, Japan Self-Defense Forces enjoy the highest level of trust of Japanese people as compared with other institutions, such as the national diet, the media, the bureaucracy, police, and teachers, most likely due to their contributions in disaster relief operations.

Sasakawa Peace Foundation USA is proud of the Japan-U.S. Military Program (JUMP) that we partner with the National Association of Japan-America Societies on. JUMP is sponsored by the Embassy of Japan and honors past and current U.S. service men and women who served under the framework of the U.S. Japan Security Alliance. We are honored to welcome Ambassador Koji Tomita, Admiral Patrick M. Walsh (former Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet), General Ryoichi Oriki (former Chief of Staff, Joint Staff, JSDF), and Major General Hiroyuki Sugai (Defense and Air Attaché, Embassy of Japan) to our upcoming JUMP Annual Event, Operation TOMODACHI: A Ten-Year Commemoration. It is my hope that we can all take some time in our own ways to reflect on what occurred ten years ago, honoring those who were lost and the lives forever altered.
February Activities
Remembering Dr. Ezra F. Vogel with Dr. Steven K. Vogel, Mr. Glen S. Fukushima, and Dr. Joseph S. Nye Jr.
On February 2, Sasakawa USA hosted an online event paying tribute to Dr. Ezra Vogel, an eminent scholar of Japan and China who passed away on December 20, 2020. This remembrance brought together Dr. Steven K. Vogel, Chair of the Political Economy Program at the University of California, Berkeley, Mr. Glen S. Fukushima, Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress, and Dr. Joseph S. Nye, Jr., University Distinguished Service Professor, Emeritus at Harvard University to share their personal experiences with the late scholar. Dr. Steven K. Vogel, a son of Dr. Ezra Vogel, Mr. Fukushima, a former student of Dr. Vogel, and Dr. Nye, a long-time colleague of Dr. Vogel, each related their perspectives on the late scholar’s impact and legacy. A recap of the event, as well as a recording of the discussion, can be found here.

Photo: Dr. Steven K. Vogel, Mr. Fukushima, and Dr. Nye
Policy Briefing: Crisis in Myanmar: Pathways for U.S.-Japan Cooperation Featuring Dr. David Steinberg, Minister Shinichi Iida, and Ambassador Derek Mitchell
On February 18, Sasakawa USA was pleased to host an online event on current affairs in Myanmar with Dr. David I. Steinberg, Distinguished Professor of Asian Studies Emeritus at Georgetown University, Min. Shinichi Iida, Minister of Political Affairs at the Embassy of Japan in Washington, D.C., and Amb. Derek Mitchell, President of the National Democratic Institute and Former U.S. Ambassador to Myanmar. Dr. Steinberg started the briefing by reviewing the democratization movement in Myanmar as well as the political dynamics in the country. Following his remarks, Min. Iida and Amb. Mitchell addressed what policy options are available for Japan and the United States, respectively, and discussed how the two countries can best coordinate their strategies regarding Myanmar. H.E. U Aung Lynn, Ambassador of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar to the United States, joined the event and delivered a special address to the audience.

Photo: Dr. Steinberg, Min. Iida, and Amb. Mitchell
Policy Briefing: Charting a Shared Course: U.S.-Japan Security in 2021 and Beyond Featuring RADM James Kelly, USN (Ret.) and Dr. Takako Hikotani
On January 26, Sasakawa USA was pleased to host an online event on the U.S.-Japan alliance with RADM James Kelly, USN (Ret.), Former Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Japan, and Dr. Takako Hikotani, the Gerald L. Curtis Associate Professor of Modern Japanese Politics and Foreign Policy at Columbia University. Drawing on his many years of service in Japan, RADM Kelly reviewed the evolution of U.S.-Japan cooperation in defense and addressed areas of potential growth. His talk focused on the importance of personal relationships in building a stronger alliance as well as the need for continued dialogue amongst all stakeholders. Dr. Hikotani as the discussant added her own perspective on the trajectory of the U.S.-Japan alliance. A recap of the event, as well as a recording of the discussion, can be found here.
Photo: RADM Kelly, USN (Ret.), and Dr. Hikotani
Congressional Study Group on Japan: First 100 Days of the 117th Congress
On February 17, Sasakawa USA, in partnership with the U.S. Association of Former Members of Congress (FMC), co-hosted an event on the policy priorities of the new Congress. During the event, The Hon. Susan W. Brooks (R-IN, 2013-2021), The Hon. Gilbert R. Cisneros Jr. (D-CA, 2019-2021), The Hon. Ryan Costello (R-PA, 2015-2019), and the Hon. Elizabeth Esty (D-CT, 2013-2019) discussed current issues facing Congress including COVID-19 relief legislation, divisiveness in the U.S., climate change, and national security. Mr. Peter M Weichlein, Esq., CEO of FMC, moderated the event. A recap and recording of the discussion will soon be available on the Sasakawa USA website.

Photo: From top left clockwise, Hon. Brooks, Hon. Cisneros, Hon. Costello, Mr. Weichlein, and Hon. Esty
Congressional Program on U.S.-Japan and the Indo-Pacific: New Program Initiated in Partnership with the East-West Center of Washington 
The Congressional Program on U.S.-Japan Relations and the Indo-Pacific (CPUSJ) held its first of seven sessions on February 25 for a handful of congressional staffers who were selected to participate in the program. In this session, Sasakawa USA Advisory Committee Members Ambassador Kurt Tong and Secretary Randall G. Shriver discussed the U.S.-Japan alliance as the cornerstone of Indo-Pacific peace, security, and stability. Additional topics that will be covered in future sessions include: U.S.- Japan Technological Partnership and Competition; Economic Challenges Post-COVID-19; U.S.-Japan Frontier Defense and Technology Cooperation; Public Health Security; Engagement of International Organizations; as well as U.S. and Japanese Foreign Direct Investment and Foreign Aid. Sasakawa USA is honored to partner with the East-West Center of Washington on this new program. Please visit the Sasakawa USA website for more details.
The Japan U.S. Military Program (JUMP): JUMP Honolulu
On February 16, JUMP was pleased to host a special online event celebrating the U.S.-Japan alliance in cooperation with the Japan-America Society of Hawaii (JASH), the National Association of Japan-America Societies (NAJAS), the Embassy of Japan in the United States, and Sasakawa USA. Keynote speakers Admiral Philip Davidson, Commander of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, and Vice Admiral Yoji Koda, JMSDF (Ret.) described their experiences working through the U.S.-Japan alliance on critical issues in the Indo-Pacific region, while also speaking to the continuing importance of strong U.S.-Japan ties. The Hon. Yutaka Aoki, Consul General of Japan in Honolulu, also made a special appearance to address the audience of more than 70 JUMP members. They were also joined by brief remarks from Mr. Peter Kelley, President of NAJAS, and Dr. Satohiro Akimoto, Chairman and President of Sasakawa USA and Director of JUMP. Ms. Barbara Tanabe, founder of Ho’akea Communications, LLC and JASH Board Director, moderated the event and the following Q&A discussion with the keynote speakers.

Photo: From top left clockwise, Pres. Kaneko of JASH, Mr. Miwa, a former chair of JASH, Vice Admiral Koda, Ms. Nishihara Frisbie, Director of Membership and Programs of JASH, Mr. Kelley, Ms. Tanabe, Consul Gen. Aoki, and Dr. Akimoto
USJETAA Mini-Grant Program: JETAASC: Connecting Little Tokyo's Past and Present
On January 10, the JET Alumni Association of Southern California and Arizona (JETAASC) held “Connecting Little Tokyo’s Past & Present,” an informational webinar highlighting Los Angeles' own Little Tokyo community. Panelists shared an overview of Little Tokyo's history, its contributions to U.S-Japan relations, and its response to the pandemic including initiatives and community support. Panelists included Scott Oshima, Program Director, Sustainable Little Tokyo; Megan Teramoto, Small Business Counselor, Little Tokyo Service Center; and Kristin Fukushima, Managing Director, LTCC. This program was sponsored by Sasakawa USA through a mini-grant partnership with USJETAA. 
USJETAA Mini-Grant Program: JETAA Chicago: Mixed Multitudes
On February 18, the JET Alumni Association of Chicago (JETAA Chicago) presented the webinar “Mixed Multitudes” bringing together multiracial Japanese American/Nikkei speakers to explore their different experiences and help the attendees better understand and navigate the concepts of mixed-race identity in the US-Japan community. This program was sponsored by Sasakawa USA through a mini-grant partnership with USJETAA. The six speakers, all of mixed Japanese descent, shared their insight and expertise in both a presentation and panel. They included Dr. Mitzi Uehara Carter, Anthropologist and Interim Director for the Global Indigenous Forum at Florida International University; Vinicius Taguchi, President of the Twin Cities Japanese American Citizens League; Cori Lin, Artist; Jason Mattox, Core Leader of A JUST CHI of Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Chicago; Joan Ambo, Programs and Special Events Manager at Japanese American Service Committee; and moderator Lara (Zara) Espinoza, Vice President of JETAA Chicago.
Washington Discussion Group: A Discussion with Mr. Gary Martin
On February 25, Sasakawa USA welcomed Mr. Gary Martin, President and CEO of the North American Export Grain Association (NAEGA) and President of the International Grain Trade Coalition (IGTC), for a discussion of international trade with a particular focus on agriculture. The off-the-record discussion included distinguished guests from private sector organizations. With Dr. Satohiro Akimoto, Chairman and President of Sasakawa USA, acting as moderator, the participants had a constructive, in-depth conversation on the current state of international trade between the United States and East Asia. Sasakawa USA plans to organize more Washington Discussion Group events in 2021 that highlight important policy areas and strengthen ties between the United States and Japan.

Photo: Mr. Martin
Roundtable Discussion: Dr. Akimoto Joins Discussion at British Think Tank
Dr. Satohiro Akimoto, Chairman and President of Sasakawa USA, attended a virtual roundtable discussion on the Indo-Pacific region hosted by a British think tank in mid-February. He discussed relations between Indo-Pacific middle powers, including the European perspective on the future significance of this region, with discussants from the private sector, academic community, and government. The discussion touched upon important aspects in cooperation and potential competition or security priorities in the Indo-Pacific region.
Lecture: Dr. Akimoto Speaks at Hawaii Aloha Life Enrichment Association
On February 16, Dr. Satohiro Akimoto, Chairman and President of Sasakawa USA, gave an online lecture at Hawaii Aloha Life Enrichment Association (HALE), 501 (c)(3) Non-Profit Organization based in Honolulu, Hawaii. Dr. Akimoto spoke about the Biden administration, including U.S.-Japan and U.S.-China relations, followed by a lively Q&A covering topics on national security, foreign policy, and economics, which was moderated by Mr. Sakoda.
Photo: Dr. Akimoto and Mr. Sakoda
Publications
Japan Times: Diversity is Key to Japan’s Relations with the U.S.
In his latest article, “Diversity is key to Japan’s relations with the U.S.”, Dr. Satohiro Akimoto, Chairman and President of Sasakawa USA, highlighted the increasing need for Japan to recognize and promote diversity within and outside the country. While noting the historically inclusive cabinet under President Joe Biden, Dr. Akimoto stressed that Japanese officials must recognize and embrace diversity to better cooperate with the Biden administration. He referenced former Prime Minister Abe’s policy initiatives to increase inclusion such as Womenomics, but also indicated the slow pace of change that has occurred under the current Suga administration. Lastly, Dr. Akimoto emphasized the need for Japan and its government to take greater steps in encouraging diversity as a universal value.

Photo Source: Jim Lo Scalzo-Pool/Getty Images News via Getty Images
Upcoming Activities
Japan U.S. Military Program (JUMP) Annual Event: Operation TOMODACHI: A Ten-Year Commemoration
As part of an annual event, JUMP is pleased to host a virtual event on March 3, in collaboration with the Embassy of Japan and Sasakawa USA. Ambassador Koji Tomita will deliver special remarks to open the event. Commanders of the U.S. and Japan military divisions that led Operation TOMODACHI, Admiral Patrick M. Walsh, USN (Ret.), and General Ryoichi Oriki, JGSDF (Ret.), will reflect on the success of Operation TOMODACHI, a joint effort that leveraged the partnership of the U.S. military and Japan Self-Defense Forces to respond to the challenges of the Great East Japan Earthquake and provide disaster relief to affected communities. Major General Hiroyuki Sugai, Defense and Air Attaché at the Embassy of Japan in Washington, D.C., will also deliver remarks.
The Japan U.S. Military Program (JUMP): JUMP San Diego
JUMP will be hosting a virtual event with the Japan-America Society of San Diego on March 11. The event’s theme will be the “10th Anniversary Commemoration of the Great East Japan Earthquake,” focusing on grassroots and military perspectives. Please visit the JUMP website’s event page for updates on future events. JUMP connects past and present service members, families, and government civilians who have served in Japan through social networks and grassroots events. JUMP is the only national program to do so, providing a powerful foundation for sustaining the alliance between the U.S. and Japan.
Partnered 3.11 Commemoration Event: Remembering March 11, 2021: Looking Back, Looking Forward
2021 marks the 10th anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake, which happened on March 11, 2011, and devastated the Tohoku region of Japan. In commemoration of what was lost in the unprecedented tragedy and what was built during the recovery, the U.S.-Japan Council (USJC) will host a virtual event in partnership with U.S.-Japan-related organizations, including Sasakawa USA, to highlight the enduring importance of the U.S.-Japan alliance and friendship. The event, titled “Remembering March 11, 2011: Looking Back, Looking Forward” will be held on March 10. The event will feature a variety of speakers proactively involved in the U.S.-Japan relationship, including ambassadors, nonprofit leaders, and USJC TOMODACHI Initiative alumni. Please visit USJC website’s event page to register as well as see the agenda and list of speakers.
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