LA Next Generation Japanese American Leaders – KAKEHASHI Japan Visit Presentation

On February 21, Consul General Sone hosted an event at the Official Residence featuring a presentation by members of the LA Next Generation Japanese American Leaders Initiative who recently visited Japan on the KAKEHASHI Project. The delegation members included the following (subcommittees in parentheses): Kira Teshima Conlon (women & diversity), Travis Kaya (politics), Akemi Look (entertainment), Nancy Okubo (business), and Mia Russell (women & diversity).

Administered through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the KAKEHASHI Project aims to promote people-to-people exchanges and mutual trust and understanding between Japan and North America, to encourage further understanding of Japan. The delegation spent one week in Japan and visited Tokyo and Tohoku, where they met with leaders of organizations such as ASOBI System, Tokio Marine, Keidanren (Japan Business Federation), Tokyo Metropolitan Government, and elected officials including Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Yasushi Hosaka, National Diet Member Karen Makishima, and Setagaya City Councilmember Risa Kamio. In Tohoku they met with grassroots organizations engaged in rebuilding efforts, such as Rurio Inc.

The delegates shared their main takeaways from the visit and their hopes for building on the connections they had made in Japan for the future growth of the U.S.-Japan relationship. They identified cultivating global mindsets, kaizen: culture of innovation, the many faces of rebuilding, proactive involvement in U.S.-Japan relations, and the power of storytelling as key themes. They shared ideas for future collaborations and the desire to continually build on their delegation experiences to further bridge the U.S. and Japan.

Event guests included the newest members of the LA Next Generation Japanese American Leaders Initiative who joined in December 2023, and members of the Japan Business Association’s Next Generation Forum. After the presentation, attendees enjoyed a networking reception.