Monday, June 21, 2010

Senator Inouye Speaks At Japan Society

"this is one of the most trying and challenging times experienced in the U.S. and Japan relationship during the past 65 years" -- Senator Daniel Inouye
Japan Society had the privilege of welcoming U.S. Senator Daniel Inouye on Monday, June 14. to deliver a rousing lecture on U.S.-Japan relations.

The lecture attracted 175 movers and shakers, including Ambassador Nishimiya, Consul-General of Japan in New York, Michihisa Shinagawa, the head of Sumitomo Corporation of America, and Yoshihisa Suzuki, the head of ITOCHU Int.. The lecture was presided by Douglas Petersen, COO of Citibank.

According to Chris Poston, director of Japan Society’s Corporate Program, Inouye “spoke at a time of political instability in Japan on an issue that has for 65 years relied on political stability, namely the state of the U.S.-Japan security alliance. He raised some interesting issues of the need for Japan to increase its defensive capability, so that the U.S. military can reduce its footprint in Japan."

This topic is especially prescient now because of the debate surrounding the Futenma military base in Okinawa – which was a factor leading to PM Hatoyama’s resignation. Senator Inoyue took the Democratic Party of Japan to task for having questioned the deal struck with the Liberal Democratic Party in 2006, thereby ruffling feathers in D.C. and causing some on the Hill to question the strength of the alliance. He noted in his speech "We must keep in mind that the supreme goal of our two nations is to strengthen our relationship, and in that process bring about stability and the absence of military violence in the Asia –Pacific region." (Full speech.)

Senator Inouye has served as a senator from Hawaii since 1963 - for 47 years. He was born in 1924 to Japanese parents, and raised in Honolulu. In World War II, he served with the U.S. Army, and lost his right arm in the Assault on Colle Musatello in Northern Italy. He received the Bronze Star, Purple Heart, and Medal of Honor, and returned to university after the war thanks to the GI Bill.

Over his almost 50-year congressional career, Senator Inouye has served as a moderate Democrat. Last year he was appointed chair of the Senate Committee on Appropriations, which manages the Senate’s discretionary spending.

Keep an eye on our Corporate Programs page for upcoming opportunities to listen to politically and socially topical lectures like these – not to mention hob-knob with decision-makers!


No comments: