Consul General MUTO Akira Attends the Los Angeles Urban League’s Whitney M. Young, Jr. Annual Awards Dinner ‘A Century of Service’

On June 30, Consul General of Japan in Los Angeles MUTO Akira attended the Los Angeles Urban League’s Whitney M. Young, Jr. Annual Awards Dinner ‘A Century of Service’ held at the Beverly Hilton.
The Consulate General of Japan in Los Angeles has actively pursued partnerships with the diverse communities in our region, including initiatives to strengthen the relationship with the African American community. The L.A. Urban League, an organization that works to empower African Americans and others, celebrated its 100th anniversary at the awards dinner. U.S. Congresswoman Karen Bass and Los Angeles city councilmembers were among the notable officials in attendance to celebrate the milestone.
In his remarks at the awards dinner, Consul General Muto warned that divisions within the United States, a nation that has long championed democracy, threaten to undermine the legitimacy of democracies.  Community building efforts are especially important today as the Russian invasion in Ukraine has shown the fragility of democracy, and the importance for democracies to stand united to fight against tyrannies, he said.
As such, Consul General Muto announced the four pillars of collaborations for solidarity in the U.S., which the Consulate General will work on with the African American community. As a way to protect democracy, these efforts are a humble contribution towards healing divisions within the U.S. to support unity and solidarity, explained Consul General Muto.

Ambassador Michael A. Lawson, President & CEO of the LAUL
and Consul General Akira Muto 
The first pillar is the Consulate General’s Japan & Black L.A. Initiative, which strives to enhance mutual understanding between Japanese and Black communities, and seeks support for a Japanese language program. As a second pillar, Consul General Muto launched a Japan Job Training (JJT) program in which Japanese companies are set to offer career events and increase opportunities for underserved communities. These Japanese companies will partner with California State University, Dominguez Hills to launch a new curriculum for R&D or product development to help better prepare students for new jobs. The third pillar is a KAKEHASHI Young Leaders program sponsored by the Government of Japan that will send a delegation of promising young African American leaders to Japan. The fourth pillar will be the institutionalization of these efforts by local institutions such as the Japanese American National Museum (JANM) and the Japanese American Cultural & Community Center (JACCC), which will hold events in partnership with the Japan & Black L.A. Initiative. Starting this year, the JACCC will embark on the Bronzeville Project, which over two years will showcase the history of the Japanese American and the African American communities. Both communities have historically enjoyed a mutually supportive relationship in Little Tokyo, including during the postwar period, and elsewhere. By learning from such history, the Japan & Black L.A. Initiative will aim to further enhance friendships between our communities.
Read the entire text of Consul General Muto’s speech: