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Recent Events

►SelectUSA Executive Director Thummalapally visits Embassy

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March. 3, 2014 - Executive Director Thummalapally joins as Daiwa House President Ono and Lincoln Property CEO Byrne proudly display their MOU to collaborate between now and 2016 on the development of $1.5bn worth of muti-family housing in the Fort Worth, Texas area.

Excecutive Director Thummalapally brainstormed with two dozen members of ASOA on March 4th on how SelectUSA could best work with this key association.

SelectUSA Executive Director Thummalapally appreciated the chance he had to compare notes on investment strategy with Director General Yokoo at Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Investment on March 4th in Tokyo.

►U.S. Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy made remarks at US DOC Certified World Smart Energy Week (WSEW) 2014 Opening Ceremony.(Feb 26, 2014)

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Exhibitors, visitors, and members of the press pack the main thoroughfare, stairs, and walkways above the stage at Tokyo Big Sight East Hall to watch the Opening Ceremony and Tape-cut at World Smart Energy Week 2014 (WSEW), Asia’s premier renewable energy trade show. WSEW boasted over 2,000 exhibitors and 90,000 visitors from around the world. (Feb. 26, 2014)

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U.S. Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy makes remarks at WSEW Opening Ceremonies, highlighting the cutting edge technologies on display and encouraging international partnerships. (Feb. 26, 2014 at Tokyo Big Sight)

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Ambassador Kennedy tours the show floor at WSEW.

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Ambassador Kennedy meets with the U.S. exhibitors at the U.S. Pavilion to learn about their “smart” technologies and encourage their efforts in Japan and around the world. 75 U.S. firms exhibited at WSEW in eight differed co-located sub-shows covering solar, wind, smart grid, eco-building, fuel cells, and energy storage.

►American Airlines CEO Doug Parker and President Scott Kirby visited Embassy

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Feb. 14, 2014 -  American Airlines CEO Doug Parker and and President Scott Kirby spent a moment visiting with Travel & Tourism Specialist Tamami Honda at her office in the Embassy, after completing a call on Ambassador Caroline Kennedy.  Following the merger with US Airways, American Airlines is now the world's biggest carrier, but anxious to grow its relatively limited business in Asia and Japan.  

► New Deputy Assistant Secretary for Asia at Global Markets, Holly Vineyard visited Tokyo and Osaka on her first trip to the region, following work in Beijing, China at the APEC Informal Sr. Officials Meeting, Dec. 8-13, 2013.


December 12th, Meeting several of the 50-delegates from Japan who participated in the Select USA Summit at a reception at the SCO’s home.


December 12th, Concluding one of five bilateral meetings for the day … this one with METI Director General Suzuki, with a view of Japan’s Diet Building (capitol) in the background.


December 12th, Taking time to get to know CS Tokyo staff over lunch.


… December 11th, Observing Governor of Massachusetts Patrick present a baseball signed by Red Sox ace pitcher Koji Uehara to Ambassador Kennedy during a reception at the residence for the visiting trade mission.

… December 11th: Presenting an ITA Quarterly Award to M. Suzuki, one of the five members of CS Japan honored for putting on the December 2013 Renewable Energy Business Roundtable in Tokyo and Tohoku.

► Governor Patrick Meets Top Japanese Officials

December 12, 2013 - Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick led the Massachusetts – Asia Innovation Partnership Mission to strengthen the state’s partnerships with Japan, Hong Kong and Singapore, and expand opportunities for the Commonwealth in the cleantech, innovation, life sciences, financial services and transportation sectors.  One highpoint of the Governor’s full agenda in Tokyo was a meeting with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in which the two exchanged views on topics from fostering innovation, to Japan’s “maglev” train, Massachusetts’ interest in conclusion of the TPP, study abroad, and Red Sox pitching.

► America’s “First Tourists,” the Pilgrims, Again Inspire Global Travel through Tokyo Thanksgiving Celebration

November 28, 2013: Pardon … Denied!

The birds shipped over from the United States for the Thanksgiving Feast organized by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Travel and Tourism Office missed out on the clemency granted the National Thanksgiving Turkey, via Presidential Pardon...

…but the 60 Japanese travel agents who joined the appreciation event sponsored by The Bay State’s Office of Travel and Tourism did more than snap photos, tucking into turkey -- and a cranberry -- authentically prepared -- if not proportioned -- in the kitchen of Tokyo’s Imperial Hotel Thursday evening. Japanese are among the top five national tourist groups visiting Massachusetts and draws such as a Japanese pitching-fueled MLB championship team, an 18-month old direct flight between Tokyo and Boston and, soon, bilingual tours on the world’s biggest amphibious city tour “Duck” fleet will only drive those numbers higher in 2014.

► U.S.-Japan JV (Bloom Energy Japan) Launches Fuel Cell Power Generation System in Fukuoka City

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25 November – Fukuoka:  DCM Kurt Tong offers congratulations at launch of green energy joint venture Bloom Energy Japan, between Softbank and Silicon Valley-based Bloom Energy.

25 November – Fukuoka:  DCM Kurt Tong joins Softbank CEO Masayoshi Son and Silicon Valley-based Bloom Energy CEO KR Sridhar, along with Fukuoka Mayor Shoichiro Takashima, to celebrate the launch of Bloom Energy Japan, a joint venture that will offer green energy solutions in Japan.

► U.S. Automakers Rally where the Rubber Meets the Japanese Road; Nov. 16-17

CS Japan worked with Motor Magazine and the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association (JAMA) to organize the “American Motor Fair” test ride event from, at a popular shopping district in Tokyo.  The show, a prequel to JAMA’s upcoming and far larger Tokyo Motor Show 2013, focused exclusively on the latest models from five major U.S. car and motorcycle makers – Chrysler-Jeep, Ford, General Motors, Tesla Motors, and Harley-Davidson.  Some new models that are just coming to the market were available for public test rides.  U.S. Embassy Deputy Chief of Mission Kurt Tong spoke at the Opening Ceremony and took a spin himself.  Akio Toyoda, President and CEO of Toyota and Chairman of JAMA, stopped by to enjoy the all-American wares on his home track. 

American Chamber of Commerce of Japan (ACCJ) corporate member T-Mark K.K. recently established an affiliated IT services company in western New York to serve its global clientele, creating a dozen skilled jobs in the process. The Buffalo office under company President Greg Norton and Manager Sabrina Smith, along with some of the staff are pictured with visiting Senior Commercial Officer (center).

Commercial Service Japan staff recently traveled to central Michigan to participate along with House Ways & Means Chairman Dave Camp in a breakfast seminar for some 230 area business leaders working to generate continued additional employment through trade and foreign investment to complement its strong base.

One of the success stories for Midland, Michigan is the one year-old manufacturing and laboratory facility for an innovative, Japan-based recycler of industrial wastepaper, Eco Bio Plastics. The SCO is pictured with the firm’s leadership, holding representative products made from this environmentally friendly process.

►President Obama Emphasizes Investment at SelectUSA Summit, Oct 31 – Nov 1

President Obama gave the Summit’s keynote address on the first day, stressing the importance and promise of investing in the United States. His remarks were the capstone to a program that included speeches from four cabinet secretaries. The President called on all his overseas Missions and Ambassadors to vigorously carry out the work of attracting investment to the United States, as well as calling on Congress to provide the resources we need to invest in investment. [More]

►CS Japan, State, CBP and BrandUSA Showcase U.S. Destinations at JATA 2013, Sept. 12-15



Chargé Tong cut the ribbon on the BrandUSA Pavilion at the JATA 2013

CS Tokyo hosted a 90-booth Team USA pavilion at the JATA 2013 Travel Showcase, welcoming the largest single non-Japanese presence at Asia’s biggest tourism show, which was certified for the first time.  CS Tokyo worked closely with BrandUSA, VisitUSA, the U.S. Travel Association and Embassy colleagues led by Charge Kurt Tong during a busy week that featured 8 state delegations promoting tourism and investment, while celebrating the selection of Tokyo for the 2020 Olympic Games, which also promises to boost
U.S. export opportunities in other fields.  The Charge cut the ribbon on the BrandUSA Pavilion and CO Anderson gave remarks at events hosted by Guam Governor Calvo and Nevada Lt. Gov. Krolicki.  At this newly certified Trade Show, CS Tokyo welcomed close to a hundred participants from and publicized OTTI forecasts that show Japan re-taking the crown from the UK as the world’s #1 traveler and tourist revenue sources of overseas visitors to the U.S. for 2013-2017.

►CS Japan Partners to Tell “Big Fish Stories” on behalf of Alaska’s over $500mn Export Market

Alaskan King Crab is lovingly treated with a soy milk skin wrap; Master Chef Eric Ziebold (right) fields questions from Japanese foodies.

In the last week of June 2013, employees from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), CS Japan, the Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) and the State Department fanned out to help ensure that Alaska’s near-record $520 million in seafood exports to Japan in 2012 will thrive this year and beyond.  CS Japan’s involvement in this lucrative export sector is unusually strong thanks to the presence in the Commercial Section of long-term fisheries expert, NOAA’s Tomohiro Asakawa. On June 26, while Mr. Asakawa was busy manning a U.S. booth at “Food Taipei,” SCO traveled to Hakone to present an annual Embassy award to the best Japanese producer of the Japanese processed seafood staple, kamaboko, utilizing Alaskan Pollock – while the Sr. Commercial Officer, himself, utilized the best Japanese he could muster to describe how kamaboko (fish cakes) had sustained him as a “starving” exchange student traveling across Japan decades before.  On the following day, Amb. Roos, supported by the Public Affairs Section, was a panelist on the legendary TV competition, Iron Chef, featuring three American chefs putting prized U.S. ingredients to the test in high-end cooking.  Finally, on the 29th, CS and FAS joined the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute at a special showcase of Alaskan black cod, salmon and king crab, in the form of a cooking demonstration for Japanese retailers, press and restaurant managers at the Tokyo branch of Tribeca-born restaurant chain, Nobu.  The starring role went to star chef Eric Ziebold, from Washington D.C.’s CityZen Restaurant and a member of American Chef Corps, a part of the State Department's Diplomatic Culinary Partnership.  With a strong NEI-focused interagency team, key partnerships, hardy Japanese appetites and, of course, stellar seafood products from Alaska and elsewhere in the United States, there is nothing implausible about this post’s “big fish stories.”

► The OTHER White Meat: Alaskan Pollock Exports Hit Sweet – and Savory – Spot in Japan

A Japanese chef cannot make numerous soups and noodle dishes without "kamaboko," the processed, shaped and steamed seafood product that has been a part of Japanese cuisine for centuries.  And "kamaboko," in turn cannot be made without pureed whitefish known as "surimi."  (The imitation crab meat that has been popular in the West for a few decades is another familiar use). A preferred variety of that whitefish is Alaskan pollock that is caught, processed, frozen and shipped to the kamaboko makers of Japan and Korea, among other markets. The appetite of the Japanese kamboko makers for high-quality ingredient is so vast that the Alaskan fisheries exported almost $160 million in pollock surimi to Japan in 2012, accounting for a substantial share of the State's total seafood exports. 

Last June 26th, as every year for many years, the U.S. Embassy joined Japan's National Kamaboko Makers Association to present an award for the highest quality kamaboko made from Alaskan pollock.  This year's award went to Mr. Nakajin Waetsu of the Ikuji Kamaboko Yugen Kaisha, Kurobe-shi, Toyama-ken, pictured to the left with Commercial Minister Counselor Andrew Wylegala, and Ms. Keiko Sasaki (left side) and Ms. Akiko Yakata (right side), representing the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute, (ASMI).

► CS Tokyo Boosts Innovation Collaboration with Japan SCP, June 20, 2013 

CS Japan assisted renowned Silicon Valley nonprofit SRI International in marketing IP development services to Japanese clients by packing the U.S. Embassy auditorium for a unique presentation by its CEO, Dr. Carlson.  The SCP was staged around SRI’s 50th Anniversary in Japan.  Notable guests included executive members of Japan’s Cabinet office.   SCO highlighted a new collaboration agreement with Japan’s civilian equivalent of DARPA, and post anticipates that SRI will contract with yet more entities as Japan works to source and invest in the United States to sharpen capacity to commercialize cutting edge technologies, independently and jointly with U.S. firms.  

► Denver Dazzles Tokyo with Tourism, Airports, Energy and Education, June 11-14, 2013 

CS Japan welcomed Denver’s 70-person delegation for a week of promotional events led by Mayor Michael Hancock that highlight the bright benefits of a direct flight by the 787 Dreamliner.  Denver and Narita Airports inked a new sister-airport agreement, and the University of Tokyo and U.S. DoE’s National Renewable Energy Lab signed a new consortium-based MOU.  Investment prospects in the Denver airport-area and Study Colorado student exchanges will pave the way for a future Governor-led mission in the fall.   In addition to a CS-organized delegation briefing featured in The Denver Post and a “gala” reception hosted by Ambassador. Roos, coverage by Denver media of a visiting student drum line captured headlines in Colorado. The visit marks yet another “happy return”: Denver’s is the fourth of four city delegations to pay a return call on Japan since Ambassador Roos visited those four “Dreamliner Cities” on his January 2013 New Routes Outreach Tour.

►Dashing” is Believing, IL-based “Warrior Dash” Race Concept Unveiled in Asia, June 15, 2013

CS Japan joined another 2,000 hearty souls by entering a team in Japan's inaugural running of a "Warrior Dash" 5km obstacle and adventure run held in a resort area outside Tokyo. In addition to enjoying the good, clean -- if not always mud-free -- competition, CS Japan staff helped welcome the arrival of another U.S. entertainment concept sure to find fertile ground in a running-mad culture that also enjoys nature, costumes and festivals -- often most when they can be served up together.   A few hundred Japanese participants demonstrated this passion when they flew to Hawaii last year to participate in a Warrior Dash held there. The Embassy has supported this important sports-tourism trend by holding events such as a seminar last November featuring U.S.-based marathons and related travel opportunities for Japanese travelers. Warrior Dash is the creation of Chicago, IL-based event production company Red Frog Events, LLC. In just four years it has charged to the fore of the booming adventure race category, now producing scores of events annually in Canada, Australia, and Europe, in addition to the United States. The Japan-based licensees have teamed with the Konishiki Kids Foundation, a non-profit charitable organization founded by Japanese sumo legend Konishiki in 1996 to assist Hawaiian youth.

►CS Japan Helps Disperse Cloud of Misinformation Hanging Over Cloud Computing at Tokyo Seminar on U.S. Patriot Act Provisions, May 31, 2013:

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CS Japan working with the ECON Section of the Embassy hosted a conference entitled “Cloud Computing Laws and Regulations: Clarifying Misunderstandings and Facts.”  The conference featured speakers from State and Justice, along with Japan’s Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications and a local attorney.  The purpose was to address common misperceptions regarding The Patriot Act and related U.S. policies on law enforcement access to private information stored online or “in the cloud.”  The potential for data intrusion is often incorrectly alleged by U.S. company competitors seeking to take away market share.  The four co-sponsors of the event, Amazon Data Services Japan K.K., Google Japan Inc., Microsoft Japan Co., Ltd., and Salesforce.com Co., Ltd, were extremely pleased that the event drew a standing room crowd of over 150 executives and government officials to the Embassy, and said the clarity would allow them to achieve countless additional successes in the market, or forestall the loss of current business. 

SELECT USA Blankets FDI Powerhouse Japan with Seminar Roadshow, May 22-24, 2013:  

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CS Tokyo and Osaka combined with State Consular colleagues and several Japanese organizations to hold four, half-day seminars over three days in Tokyo, Nagoya and Osaka.  As the first outreach events for Select USA in this priority market, the speakers covered the "why" and "how" of investing in the U.S., so that future programs can treat specific problem areas or industry sectors.   Interest was strong: 26 EDOs and business service providers jumped in to fully underwrite the costs beyond the seed funds provided from Select USA HQ, while registration for attendance by Japanese prospective SME and large corporate investors was so strong that a second session was added in Tokyo to accommodate overflow.  A total of over 250 Japanese executives attended the seminars.  The former CEO of Honda Motors, which recently announced another major direct investment in the United States, joined the reception hosted by Ambassador Roos at his residence for the roadshow.

►Under Secretary Sánchez & Amb. Roos Honor Peace Through Commerce Achievement, May 16, 2013:  

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CS Japan worked with colleagues worldwide to plan and stage a gala lunch attended by business and Government of Japan leaders that recognized the best in corporate social welfare exhibited by the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan in coming to the aid of the citizens of Tohoku in the aftermath of the triple calamities of 3/11.  As  noted in the award, the Chamber went on to host the 2012 APCAC Asia Regional Business Summit, which U/S Sanchez and 8 U.S. Chiefs of Mission attended that signaled that Japan was back on its feet.  The lunch also featured the Under Secretary’s well-received speech on “The Trans-Pacific Business Opportunity,” on the cusp of Japan’s entry into the TPP talks.  The U/S also led 10 firms – the largest spin-off contingent of the 2013 Trade Winds Mission – to Tokyo for one-on-one meetings.  Finally, he joined Amb. Roos in opening the bi-weekly Interagency Commerce Task Force Meeting, which included the Principle Officers from across Japan for a review of NEI progress and future strategies. photos

►NOA Electrifies Business Prospects for U.S. Suppliers, May 16, 2013:

A Seminar

Under the banner of the private sector-driven and CS Japan-coordinated New Orleans Association (NOA) Conference, U.S. exporters joined with Japan’s 10 electric power companies and 2 power wholesalers for a full day of B2B meetings aimed at increasing sales of U.S. products and services to a huge electrical power market that may be primed for de-regulation.  After opening remarks by Under Secretary Sánchez, the group broke out into meetings arranged by CS Tokyo between 40 procurement managers from Japan’s power companies and over 60 representatives of U.S. firms.  The next 7 hours saw over 140 individual meetings focused on how U.S. technology and innovation can help address Japan’s energy needs as the country embarks on deregulation and an influx of renewable energy.

►DIA’s daily nonstop service to Japan a milestone for Colorado

Travel Tips

Earlier this year, Colorado’s global footprint took a significant step forward. Jan. 8 marked the first time that a sitting U.S. ambassador to Japan visited Colorado as part of an official trip. Why is this such a big deal for Colorado? The answer lies in the critical importance of connectivity and international business to our state’s economic future. more…

By A. Barry Hirschfeld Jr.