Japanese-American Leaders to Meet with Top Japanese Officials

March 3, 2017, 10:35 AM HST (Updated March 3, 2017, 10:42 AM)
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2017 Japanese American Leadership delegates at their orientation in Los Angeles. Courtesy photo.

Eleven Japanese American leaders will travel to Japan from March 3 to 11 as part of the 2017 Japanese American Leadership Delegation (JALD) program, a week-long trip dedicated to building people-to-people connections with Japanese leaders.

In its 17th year, JALD provides opportunities for Japanese Americans to establish a meaningful role in strengthening U.S.-Japan relations across all sectors of society.

The 11 delegates come from across the country and are active in their communities, engaged in U.S.-Japan relations and committed to deepening ties between Japanese Americans and Japan.

Jason Fujimoto, president and COO of HPM Building Supply, Courtesy photo.

One of the 11 participants is Hilo resident Jason Fujimoto, the president and COO of HPM Building Supply, a Hawai‘i building material distributor and manufacturer. He has worked in various capacities at HPM for over 12 years.

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Prior to joining the company, he worked as an analyst in the Global Mergers & Acquisitions Group, Investment Banking Division, at JP Morgan Securities in New York. He has been vice-chair and is the incoming chair of PBS Hawaii, the largest Public Broadcasting Service in Hawai‘i. He also serves as chair of the Military Affairs Committee of the Hawaii Island Chamber of Commerce, where he works to build grassroots support and awareness of the environmental, economic and national security benefits the U.S. military brings to Hawaii Island and the State of Hawai‘i.

Fujimoto has been involved with the Hawaii Asia Pacific Association’s (HAPA) Young Leaders Program since 2012, and is a 2012 Omidyar Fellow and 2008 Pacific Century Fellow. He was named 2015 Young Retailer of the Year by the National Retail Hardware Association, and in 2013, was named in “20 for the Next 20: People to Watch” by Hawaii Business Magazine. He received a Bachelor of Science in Economics from the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.

Fujimoto’s ancestral origins can be traced to the Hiroshima, Yamaguchi and Kumamoto prefectures.

The 11  delegates will visit Kanazawa, the capital of Ishikawa Prefecture, where they will participate in a panel discussion sponsored by the Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership and the U.S.-Japan Council.

The delegates will then visit Tokyo, where past delegations have typically met with the prime minister, foreign minister and top business executives, among others.

USJC President Irene Hirano Inouye will lead the delegation.

The 10 other 2017 delegates are:

  • David Boone (Alexandria, Virginia), President, CB&I Federal Services
  • Sawako Gardner (Portsmouth, New Hampshire), Judge, 10th Circuit Court, Portsmouth District Court, State of New Hampshire
  • Roy Hirabayashi (San Jose, California), Co-Founder and past Executive Director, San Jose Taiko
  • Leslie A. Ito (Los Angeles, California), President & CEO, Japanese American Cultural & Community Center
  • Lynn Nakamoto (Salem, Oregon), Associate Justice, Oregon Supreme Court
  • Patrick Oishi (Seattle, Washington), Judge, King County Superior Court
  • Ken Russell (Miami, Florida), Commissioner, City of Miami
  • Michael Takada (Chicago, Illinois), Chief Executive Officer, Japanese American Service Committee
  • Wendy Takahisa (New York, New York), Executive Director, Office of Community Relations, Morgan Stanley
  • Gary Yamashita (Denver, Colorado), Chief Executive Officer, Sakura Square

The program is sponsored by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan and organized by USJC.

For more information and biographies of all eleven delegates, go online.

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