U.S.-Japan Council

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U.S.-Japan Council
Founded2009 (2009)
TypeNon-profit organization
FocusJapan–United States relations, Education
Key people
Suzanne Basalla, President

The U.S.-Japan Council (Japanese: 米日カウンシル, Beinichi Kaunshiru, USJC) is a 501(c) 3 non-profit educational organization that contributes to strengthening U.S.-Japan relations by bringing together diverse leadership, engaging stakeholders and exploring issues that benefit communities, businesses and government entities on both sides of the Pacific Ocean.[1] It is a Japanese American-led organization, fully dedicated to strengthening ties between the United States and Japan in a global context.[2]


USJC was founded in 2009 by Japanese Americans who "saw a need for a conscious effort to ensure a strong relationship with Japan."[3] Central to such an effort was Irene Hirano Inouye, then president and CEO of the Japanese American National Museum, who had been working with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to introduce Japanese American leaders to Japan through the Japanese American Leadership Delegation.

In 2012, the U.S.-Japan Council (Japan) was created to support the administration of the TOMODACHI Initiative. In 2013, U.S.-Japan Council (Japan) became a Public Interest Corporation (Koeki Zaidan Hojin).[4]

President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Shinzō Abe praised the work of the U.S.-Japan Council in supporting the U.S.-Japan relationship in a Joint Statement issued during their April 2014 Summit. The Joint Statement particularly highlighted the importance of the Japan American Leadership Delegation and the TOMODACHI Initiative, two of the U.S.-Japan Council's signature programs.[5]

In May 2020, Suzanne Basalla succeeded the late Hirano Inouye as President and CEO of the Council.[6]


USJC cultivates an international network of Japanese American leaders known as Council Members, and collaborates with other organizations and institutions to develop programs that allow Council Members to engage with their Japanese counterparts and leaders in the United States.[7]


USJC has several programs, including the USJC Annual Conference, the Japanese American Leadership Delegation program,[8] the Consuls General & Japanese American Leaders Meeting, the Emerging Leaders Program, and Legislative and Business Networking Initiatives.[9]

The Tomodachi Initiative[edit]

The Tomodachi Initiative is a public–private partnership between the U.S.-Japan Council and the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo, with support from the Government of Japan. Born out of support for Japan’s recovery from the Great Tohoku earthquake and tsunami in 2011, Tomodachi invests in the next generation of Japanese and American leaders through educational and cultural exchanges as well as leadership programs.[10]

In the aftermath of the Great Tohoku earthquake, USJC created the U.S.-Japan Council Earthquake Relief Fund, which supported the relief and recovery efforts of several NPOs and NGOs in Japan. Ambassador John V. Roos, who was serving in Japan at the time, approached USJC to work with the embassy to implement a public-private partnership. This then became the Tomodachi Initiative.[11]

List of people associated with USJC[12][13][14][edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "U.S.-Japan Council (About)". U.S.-Japan Council. Retrieved 24 April 2014.
  2. ^ "U.S.-Japan Council (Mission & Vision)". U.S.-Japan Council. Retrieved 24 April 2014.
  3. ^ "Interview with Irene Hirano Inouye of the U.S.-Japan Council". Nikkei Business Magazine. Retrieved 24 April 2014.
  4. ^ "U.S.-Japan Council (Japan) Operations". TOMODACHI Initiative. Retrieved 24 April 2014.
  5. ^ White House, Briefing Room. "U.S.-Japan Joint Statement". whitehouse.gov. Retrieved 3 May 2014 – via National Archives.
  6. ^ "Announcement of New USJC Leadership: Suzanne Basalla Selected as Incoming CEO; Paul Yonamine and Ernest Higa to Lead USJC Boards". U.S.-Japan Council. Retrieved 6 August 2021.
  7. ^ "U.S.-Japan Council (About)". U.S.-Japan Council. Retrieved 24 April 2014.
  8. ^ "2014 JA Leadership Delegates to Japan Selected". Rafu Shimpo. Retrieved 24 April 2014.
  9. ^ "U.S.-Japan Council (Programs)". U.S.-Japan Council. Retrieved 24 April 2014.
  10. ^ "TOMODACHI Initiative". TOMODACHI Initiative. Retrieved 24 April 2014.
  11. ^ "Investing in the future: Initiative helps foster young leaders to strengthen US–Japan relations". ACCJ Journal. Retrieved 24 April 2014.
  12. ^ "U.S.-Japan Council (Board of Councilors)". U.S.-Japan Council. Retrieved 24 April 2014.
  13. ^ "U.S.-Japan Council (Board of Directors)". U.S.-Japan Council. Archived from the original on 25 April 2014. Retrieved 24 April 2014.
  14. ^ "U.S.-Japan Council (Council Members)". U.S.-Japan Council. Retrieved 24 April 2014.

External links[edit]