Home Politics JA Leaders Gather in DC with Ambassador Yamada

JA Leaders Gather in DC with Ambassador Yamada

By Calvin Terada
North American Post Contributor

On January 24, Japanese American leaders from 17 U.S. regions were selected by their local Consuls General of Japan to participate in discussions with Japanese Ambassador to the U.S. Shigeo Yamada and leaders of Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs at an annual meeting in Washington, D.C.

The evening prior to the meeting, U.S.-Japan Council organized a welcome dinner for the Japanese American leaders and hosted a working meeting for the following morning.

From the Pacific Northwest, Calvin Terada and Seattle Consul General Makoto Iyori and I participated in a discussion that covered a variety of topics including enhancing relationships with the broader local communities, strengthening efforts to connect with Japanese American communities in more distant areas, and how to communicate broadly especially with the next generation.

Calvin Terada shared that being selected to represent the Japanese American community in the Pacific Northwest at this meeting was an incredible honor. Calvin said that after nearly 130 years since the first Japanese came to the Seattle-Tacoma area, it is critically important that we all work together so that we can maintain a strong and vibrant community for future generations.

Meeting participants shared examples of successful, collaborative initiatives that bring Japanese culture to local communities, promote friendship and cooperation between the two countries, and spread cultural awareness and sensitivity. They also discussed the value of strong relationships between regional Japanese consulates and Japanese American leaders in the community, and the need to help guide the development of the next generation of leaders.

Following the meeting Ambassador Yamada hosted an evening reception for participants during which he gave remarks reflecting on the importance of the annual gathering and of the U.S.-Japan bilateral partnership. The meeting is an annual, collaborative effort between the Embassy of Japan and the U.S.-Japan Council. It was the first meeting since 2020.

Calvin Terada is director of Superfund and Emergency Management for the United States Environmental Protection Agency in Seattle. He was also the recipient of the 2023 Japanese American Leadership Delegation for the Pacific Northwest sponsored by the U.S.-Japan Council.