JASC 65 Comes to a Close with Final Forum and an Alumni Reception

AEC member Patrick Meuer of Edgewood College reads an opening statement for the final forum.

The Culture and Technology roundtable presents.

On August 22nd, 2013, the hard work of the JASC 65 delegation came to a head as students made their presentations during the Final Forum. Held at Aoyama Gakuin University, the site of the first JASC in 1934, the Final Forum drew a small but enthusiastic crowd of alumni, students, and supporters. Over 20,000 viewers also watched the Final Forum online thanks to streaming service Nico Nico Japan.

Members of the JASC 65 delegation made presentations about their roundtable topics, themes they had been studying and discussing together since first being selected as delegates. The roundtable process begins with the roundtable essay, a research paper prepared prior to JASC. This paper forms the basis for discussion once delegates arrive at the conference. Over the course of the conference in their roundtable, a group of four Japanese and four American students, delegates examine their topic through fieldtrips and discussions. The Final Forum presentation is an opportunity for each roundtable to share their findings and provide policy recommendations or project plans. The unique challenge of synthesizing the ideas of a group of eight students from differing backgrounds into one brief presentation is one of the most challenging components of JASC, but also one of the most rewarding.

Nozomi Obinata of International Christian University speaks during the Social Minorities and Discrimination roundtable’s presentation.

Yamato Komura of Akita International University asks his fellow delegates a question during the Final Forum.

Following the Final Forum, the delegation was hosted by the JASC Japan alumni association for a reception with fellow alumni. Many alumni from recent years were in attendance as well as some from JASCs long past.

Deputy Chief of Mission for the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo and JASC 36 & 37 (1984 & 1985) alumnus Kurt Tong addresses the delegation and reception guests.

Mr. Shoichi Nakase, alumnus of JASC 8 & 9 (1947 & 1948) speaks at the reception.

Mr. Yoshinori Imai, alumnus of JASC 17 (1965) gives a toast.

JASC 65 Executive Committee Members and alumni from JASC 64 reconnect at the reception.


JASCers Hear From Japanese Diet Member Shinjiro Koizumi

On August 20th, 2013, the JASC 65 delegation spoke with Japanese Politician Shinjiro Koizumi. Mr. Koizumi is a member of the Liberal Democratic Party and represents the Kanagawa 11th district in Japan’s Parliment. He is also the second son of former Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and younger brother of actor Kotaro Koizumi.

Mr. Koizumi spoke on his experience studying abroad at Columbia University in New York City as well as his motivation for pursuing a career in politics. He then answered JASCers’ questions which ranged in topic from Mr. Koizumi’s views on U.S. bases in Japan to his advice for future leaders. When asked whether he had ambitions to one day become Japan’s Prime Minister, Mr. Koizumi responded that his first goal is to serve the people and if it was the people’s wish, he’d serve them in that role.

Shinjiro Koizumi, member of Japan’s Liberal Democratic Part speaks with JASC delegates.


Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs Hosts JASC 65 Reception

JEC Chair Masato Takeuchi of the Tokyo University of the Arts addresses reception guests.

On August 20th, 2013, the JASC 65 delegation was hosted by Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs for a Reception in Tokyo. The reception was attended by JASC alumni, dignitaries from Japan and the U.S., and supporters of the conference. Former Ambassador of Japan to the United States Ichiro Fujisaki and Minister-Counselor for Public Affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo Mark Davidson both spoke at the reception. Both emphasized the importance of the U.S.-Japan alliance and advocated for the positive role people-to-people exchanges like JASC can play in the relationship. JASC AEC Chair Paul Yarabe of Harvard University and JEC Chair Masato Takeuchi of the Tokyo University of the Arts also spoke at the reception and Dr. Takashi Oi of International Education Center gave a toast.

Former Japanese Ambassador to the United States Ichiro Fujisaki addresses the delegation.

Mark Davidson Minister-Counselor for Public Affairs – U.S. Embassy Tokyo addresses the delegation.

Dr. Takashi Oi of International Education Center gives a toast.

Mr. Akio Wada (right), JASC 25-27 (1973-1975), speaks with Jeff Yamashita (left) of UC Berkeley and Dylan Adelman (center) of Skidmore College.


US Embassy Visit Gives JASCers First-hand Diplomatic Experience

Kurt Tong, Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo and alumnus JASC 36 & 37 (1984 & 1985), addresses the delegation.

The JASC 65 delegation visited the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo on August 21st, 2013. The visit was made possible by Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo and JASC 36 & 37 (1984 & 1985) alumnus Kurt Tong and his staff.

JASCers share their ideas on increasing youth exchange between the U.S. and Japan.

Michael Fitzgerald of Florida State University takes notes in the U.S. Bases in Japan discussion group.

JASCers were put to work during the session, breaking off in groups to brainstorm solutions to some of the Embassy’s most important challenges. JASCers were tasked with providing recommendations for four key policy goals, increasing youth exchange between Japan and the U.S., improving relations between U.S. military bases and the communities that house them, controlling regional tensions brought on by differing interpretations of history, and finding a way for Japan to be a part of the trans-pacific partnership while satisfying their agricultural lobby. Each group was facilitated by a U.S. diplomat with experience in the Embassy working on the specific issue. Although solutions were difficult to come by, the JASC delegation was able to gain some diplomatic experience and provide some ideas the diplomats found interesting and valuable. The discussions were followed by a question and answer session with a panel of U.S. diplomats.

Daniel Bateyko of Middlebury College asks a question to the panel of diplomats.

Following the activities at the Embassy, JASCers were invited for a lunch reception at Deputy Chief of Mission Kurt Tong and his wife Mika’s, also an alumna of JASC 36 & 37 (1984 & 1985), residence. In addition to remarks by Mr. Tong, Kristy Holch, Chairman of the ISC Board of Directors and alumna of JASC 38 (1986) also spoke, encouraging JASCers to make the most of their final few days together and to stay in touch after the conference. Many other JASC alumni were in attendance as well as representatives from the Embassy and the TOMODACHI Program. After the reception, JASCers prepared for their discussion with Senator John McCain, which occurred later in the afternoon.

ISC Board Chairman Kristy Holch speaks to the delegates at Kurt and Mika Tong’s residence in Tokyo.

Samuel Hibiki Sekiguchi (left) of Hosei University speaks with high school students who participated in the Softbank Operation Tomodachi Leadership Camp earlier in the summer.

Mika Tong, JASC 36 & 37 (1984 & 1985) shares photos from her JASC that she displays on her piano.


International Business Takes Center Stage During Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Fieldtrip

On August 20th, 2013, the JASC 65 delegation was hosted by Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Consulting for a discussion on international business. Principle Robert J. Hill, Partner Masanobu Iwabuchi, Director of Human Resources Takayuki Umehara, and several consultants participated in the program.

Robert J. Hill, Principal at Deloitte Tohmatsu, addresses the delegation

JASCers were briefed on the consulting business and Deloitte’s operations. They then were given an overview of international business trends in Japan. Finally, the human resources department shared insights on pursuing a career in consulting and working for an international firm. After the programming, JASCers were hosted for a lunch reception in the Deloitte Tokyo office.

Spencer Oscarson (right), former JASC Program Manager and current consultant at Deloitte, speaks with Daniel Bateyko of Middlebury College.


Senator John McCain Engages in Dialogue with JASC 65 Delegates

Senator John McCain is introduced by Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo and JASC 36 & 37 (1984 & 1985) alumnus Kurt Tong.

On August 21st, 2013, JASCers were given the opportunity to have a dialogue with Senator John McCain. Senator McCain is the senior Senator from Arizona and serves on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. The U.S. Naval Academy graduate and decorated war veteran is perhaps most well known for challenging President Barack Obama as the Republican nominee in the 2008 presidential election. Senator McCain was on a trip to multiple countries in Asia and offered to speak with JASC delegates in Tokyo before his press conference with Japanese media.

Minh Hoang Vu of Tokai University asks Senator McCain a question.

Senator McCain delivered prepared remarks to the JASC delegates (online here) and then took questions for over 30 minutes. Questions from JASCers ranged in topic from his personal motivation to pursue a career in politics to his thoughts on the U.S. as a moral leader in the world. Senator McCain encouraged JASCers to continue to become leaders and to strengthen the U.S.-Japan relationship which he believes is one of the most important alliances in the world.

Nobuhiro Morita of Keio University asks a question to Senator McCain.


JASCers Visit Tsuruga Castle Enroute to Tokyo

On the bus ride from Morioka to Tokyo JASCers made a stop at Aizuwakamatsu to tour Tsuruga Castle. Originally built in 1384, the castle was most recently restored in 1965 and is most famous for a battle in which occupants of the castle (members of the shogun alliance) held their ground for nearly a month against the more powerful Meiji Empire. The shogun alliance members eventually lost the battle and in defeat many young soldiers committed ritual suicide. JASCers learned this history and explored the grounds then boarded the bus headed for Tokyo, the final site of the 65th JASC.


Transcript of Senator John McCain’s Remarks to JASCers

Pramodh Ganapathy of Duke University poses a question to Senator McCain.

On August 21, 2013 JASC delegates were able to engage in a direct discussion with Senator John McCain in Tokyo. The meeting was made possible by the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo, DCM and JASC alumnus Kurt Tong, and Senator McCain and his staff.

A transcript of Senator McCain’s remarks is available on the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo’s website. More pictures and details are available on the JASC blog.


JASC 66 Executive Committee Begins Planning for 80th Anniversary Conference

On August 23rd, 2013 the Executive Committee (EC) for the 66th Japan-America Student Conference (JASC) was elected. At the end of each conference, the delegation chooses through election sixteen leaders to plan and implement the next JASC. The EC is made up eight students studying at Japanese universities and eight students studying at universities in the United States. These students make up the Japanese Executive Committee (JEC) and American Executive Committee (AEC) respectively.

The 66th JASC JEC, from left to right, Takeshi Suzuki, Yamato Komura, Samuel Hibiki Sekiguchi, Ririna Kaneko, Yuki Onuma, Yuki Onishi, Yugo Kimura, and Yohei Komatsuzaki

The 66th JASC AEC, from left to right, Pramodh Ganapathy, Ayaka Yoshida, Ken Panis, Sarah Choi, Sharon Lu, Anna Zeng, Norihito Naka, and Quyen Nguyen

The EC members names, school years, and universities follow:

Chair: Yohei Komatsuzaki, Senior, Keio University
Takeshi Suzuki, Senior, Ritsumeikan University
Yamato Komura, Junior, Akita International University
Samuel Hibiki Sekiguchi, Junior, Hosei University
Ririna Kaneko, Senior, Sophia University
Yuki Onuma, Senior, Tokai University
Yuki Onishi, Senior, Doshisha University
Yugo Kimura, Junior, Waseda University
Yohei Komatsuzaki, Senior, Keio University

Chair: Anna Zeng, Sophomore, Johns Hopkins University
Pramodh Ganapathy, Senior, Duke University
Ayaka Yoshida, Sophomore, Northwestern University
Ken Panis, Sophomore, Villanova University
Sarah Choi, Junior, Haverford College
Sharon Lu, Senior, University of Wisconsin Madison
Norihito Naka, Sophomore, Tufts University
Quyen Nguyen, Sophomore, Smith College

After elections, the EC used the remainder of their brief time together in Tokyo planning for the 66th conference to be held in the U.S. in 2014. 2014 marks 80 years since the founding of the conference in 1934 and the conference will include a number of special events marking the occasion. More information about the EC, roundtables, and sites for the 66th conference will be available soon at http://iscdc.org/jasc/2014/.

Anna Zeng signs the “Tokyo Declaration” which outlines the terms by which the EC agrees to carry out the next conference.

AEC chair Anna Zeng and JEC Chair Yohei Komatsuzaki shake hands after signing the “Tokyo Declaration”

More pictures of the new EC are available on the JASC Flickr.