Japanese Young Professionals Meet with Key Business and Government Leaders on the 2016 TOMODACHI-Mitsui & Co. Leadership Program
The second half of the 2016 TOMODACHI-Mitsui & Co. Leadership Program took place from September 11-19, 2016, with ten young Japanese professionals journeying to Detroit, Michigan and Washington D.C. During the visit to the United States, the delegates attended week-long lineups of inspirational speakers and visited organizations which were designed to provide a comprehensive understanding about the way Americans embrace innovation and entrepreneurship.
This TOMODACHI-Mitsui & Co. Leadership Program enables American and Japanese young professionals to travel to each other’s country for one week to engage with leaders from business and government. For the first half of the program, the American delegation traveled to Fukushima Prefecture and Tokyo in July 2016.
The Japanese delegates hailed from regions ranging from Tohoku to Okinawa, and work in local governments and businesses. Their visit to Detroit presented them with an example of revitalization happening in the American heartland. At Kresge Foundation, they met with President & CEO, Rip Rapson, and Deputy Director Benjamin Kennedy (alumnus of the 2014 TOMODACHI-Mitsui & Co. Leadership Program), and learned about the role of foundations in the United States and how they operate through grant making and social investing. They also visited Shinola, which is an excellent example that represents Detroit’s pride and economic success. The company became a successful brand name after it was purchased by a small group of investors that began making quality products that were labeled, “Made in Detroit, U.S.A.”
In Washington D.C., they had opportunities to meet with public and private leaders across industries. The delegates kicked off the Washington, D.C. trip with a breakfast meeting with U.S.-Japan Council members and staff. They discussed how they were inspired by the Detroit leaders’ entrepreneurial spirit, as well as their passion for their hometown and in revitalizing the local economy. The delegates also shared their excitement on learning more about the U.S.-Japan relationship from a political perspective.
Following the kickoff breakfast, the delegation met with the Honorable Richard Armitage, President of Armitage International and former U.S. Deputy of State, who shared his insights on leadership and the importance of U.S.-Japan relations. Finally, the delegates met with Andrew Saidel, President of Dynamic Strategies, who talked about his career path that brought him to Japan and explained how the co-existence of AI, and robotic technology could be a solution for the decreasing population and aging society in Japan.
Generously funded by Mitsui & Co., Ltd., the TOMODACHI-Mitsui & Co. Leadership Program contributes to building a “TOMODACHI Generation” of creative thinkers and driven doers who are invested in the future of U.S.-Japan relations. The program has now completed its fourth year, with 79 professionals from across Japan and America participating in this unique bicultural program.