The U.S.–Japan Council hosted their annual conference at the Fairmont Olympic Hotel in Seattle on Oct. 5, bringing together economic leaders from the United States and Japan. Speakers at the event included Acting Secretary of Commerce Rebecca M. Black, President and CEO of Boeing Raymond Connor, CEO of Lawson Inc. Takeshi Niinami, and Chairman of the Pacific Northwest Division of JP Morgan Chase & Co. Phyllis Campbell. Also in attendance were Senator Daniel Inouye, Japanese Director General of North American Affairs Junichi Ihara, and Port of Seattle CEO Tay Yoshitani.
The event focused on the importance of bilateral economic policy and people-to-people connections. Cooperation between the United States and Japan on the recent economic downturn, marine debris clean up, and earthquake relief were highlighted.
“I don’t know if you’ve heard this story,” said Acting Commerce Secretary Black, “but a soccer ball turned up 3,000 miles away [from Japan] in Alaska in April, more than a year after the tsunami. On it were the words “Good luck, Murakami” written in Japanese. With some effort, David and Yumi Baxter of Alaska found the ball’s 16-year-old owner, Misaka Murakami. They sent it back to the boy, who said he was excited because he lost everything else in the tsunami. This story shows how strong the ties between our people have become.” (end)