68th JCCIH Installation Strengthens Hilo Ties with Japan

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The Japanese Chamber of Commerce & Industry of Hawai‘i (JCCIH) had an opportunity to strengthen ties with the Higashi Hiroshima Chamber of Commerce, as 19 delegates from Japan took part in the 2018-19 installation of officers in late June, then met with county and business leaders.

New JCCIH president, Steve Ueda, accepts contribution for Puna relief from Kazuyuki Kihara of the Higashi Hiroshima Chamber of Commerce. Courtesy photo

During the JCCIH festivities, Stephen Ueda, the newly installed JCCIH president, accepted a contribution for Puna eruption relief from the Japanese sister Chamber’s chair, Kazuyuki Kihara. He expressed sympathy for those affected. “I extend my heartfelt sympathy to you all in the community, and pray that the eruption will ease as soon as possible.”

Dennis Teranishi, President and CEO of the Pacific International Center for High Technology Research (PICHTR), provided remarks on the historical perspective and the critical importance of ties with the Pacific Basin, particularly Japan.

Ueda, president and CEO of Suisan Company Ltd., follows Audrey Takamine of Takamine Construction, as leader of the JCCIH.

New JCCIH president, Steve Ueda, accepts gavel from outgoing president, Audrey Takamine. Courtesy photo.


“I am particularly proud to have the opportunity to serve as president of JCCIH,” Ueda said.  “First, because of the important business advocacy of the Chamber, but second, on a personal level, I follow my grandfather, Rex Y. Matsuno, who served as president in 1965.”  Matsuno, who was responsible for substantial growth at Suisan and a long-time Hilo business leader, died last year.

Besides Ueda, the other 2018-19 JCCIH Executive Officers include:

  • First Vice President: Donn S. Mende, HFS Federal Credit Union
  • Second Vice President: Ross Birch, Hawai‘i Island Visitor’s Bureau
  • Treasurer: Suzie Dill, Hawai‘i Community College
  • Immediate-Past President: Audrey Takamine, Takamine Construction

Ueda, who grew up in Honolulu, attended Roosevelt High School and graduated from University of Hawai‘i-Mānoa, He holds a masters degree in mechanical engineering from MIT.


The Japanese Chamber of Commerce & Industry of Hawai‘i fosters economic sustainability as well as perpetuating the Japanese cultural heritage and traditions in Hawai‘i.  Its mission is to promote the wellbeing of our community through business and personal relationships that embody the values of Kahiau & Okage Sama De.  In Hawaiian, Kahiau means giving without expecting anything in return. Okage Sama De is a Japanese proverb, which means I am what I am because of you.

The Chamber sponsors the popular annual Taste of Hilo, set this year for Sunday, Oct. 21; the Chamber hosts business and cultural events and information sessions throughout the year and works with other business organizations as a watchdog over state and county legislation.

For information about JCCIH programs and membership, visit the website at


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