Kona to Host US-Japan Economic Summit

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(L–R) Dennis Teranishi, chairman of the board at USJC, with Gov. Shuichi Abe of Nagano, Gov. David Y. Ige of Hawai‘i, Gov. Heita Kawakatsu of Shizuoka and Gov. Hidehiko Yuzaki of Hiroshima at the 2015 USJC Annual Conference in Tokyo. Courtesy photo.

The Hawai‘i Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT) and the U.S.-Japan Council, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit educational organization, will hold the first-ever Japan-Hawai‘i Economic Summit in Kona from May 9 to 11, 2017.

The summit seeks to accelerate regional and international exchange with prefectures in Japan that have interests in and connections with Hawai‘i.

“Hawai‘i and Japan have a unique and significant relationship,” said Gov. David Ige. “We continue to look for ways to develop programs and initiatives with our global partners, as we strive to achieve new models for economic development, energy cooperation, people-to-people exchanges, youth, and education.”


Summit attendees will discuss shared issues and opportunities spanning business, tourism and energy, and will help forge connections that will pave the way for future collaboration and trade.

“The relationship between Japan and Hawai‘i continues to have a tremendous impact on Hawai‘i’s economy,” said DBEDT Director Luis P. Salaveria. “This summit provides us with a chance to bring key leaders together to explore new opportunities to grow our economy and create new jobs.”

“Japan and Hawai‘i have a partnership that has been built and nurtured over generations,” said Irene Hirano Inouye, president of the U.S.-Japan Council. “USJC supports strengthening ties through people-to-people relationships and public-private connections for the benefit of Japan, Hawai‘i and the continental United States.”


Governors, vice-governors and businesses from Hiroshima, Fukuoka, Okinawa, Ehime, Shizuoka, Okayama, Oita and Nagano prefectures have been invited. These include prefectures that have sister partnerships with the state of Hawai‘i or are part of USJC’s Governors’ Circle, an initiative that promotes bilateral economic collaboration at the state-prefecture level. The summit will also be attended by the Gov. David Ige and other dignitaries in Hawai‘i, as well as assembly officials, academia and distinguished executives from the continental United States.

Hawai‘i is recognized as an ideal location for Japanese companies interested in pursuing global business activities. A number of success stories will be discussed at the summit. Hawai‘i companies interested in the Japan market will also have the opportunity to hear about trends and opportunities to help them launch their products and services in Japan.

Summit Discussion Topics

  • Business Bridges: Crossing the Pacific to Global Success
  • Innovations in Education: Sparking Global Awareness
  • Tourism 2.0: Strategies to Engage the Next Generation Visitor
  • Governors’ Circle Panel
  • Food Fortunes: Overcoming Challenges and Building Brands Overseas
  • Pu‘u Wa‘awa‘a Ranch Pavilion

To register or for more information, including the event schedule and list of confirmed speaker, go online.

The Mauna Lani Bay Hotel is located  at 68-1400 Mauna Lani Drive on the Kohala Coast.

About the U.S.-Japan Council
The U.S.-Japan Council is a 501(c) 3 nonprofit 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. The Council cultivates an international network of members, and collaborates with other organizations and institutions to develop programs that allow members to engage with their counterparts in the United States and Japan. The Council promotes people-to-people relations as crucial to a strong U.S.-Japan relationship. The Council was founded in 2008 and is headquartered in Washington, DC, with staff in Hawai‘i, California and Tokyo.

About the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism
DBEDT is Hawai‘i’s resource center for economic and statistical data, business development opportunities, energy and conservation information, and foreign trade advantages. DBEDT’s mission is to achieve a Hawai‘i economy that embraces innovation and is globally competitive, dynamic and productive, providing opportunities for all Hawai‘i’s citizens . Through its attached agencies, the department fosters planned community development, creates affordable workforce housing units in high-quality living environments, and promotes innovation sector job growth.

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