US/Japan: San Jose-Okayama Young Professionals Forum

As part of KIF Global's Subnational X Initiative, 1st U.S.A.-Japan Subnational Global Young Professionals Forum was held virtually between the City of San Jose, California and City of Okayama, Japan, the third oldest sister city since 1957.

The Forum is a public-private partnership (PPP) in a forum series held virtually and organized globally by the Koyamada International Foundation (KIF) Japan, KIF America and Junior Chamber International (JCI) Japan in partnership with the subnational hosts such as JCI Okayama, San Jose-Okayama Sister Cities, City of San Jose, CA and City of Okayama.

The purpose of the forum is for American and Japanese young professional leaders to deepen bilateral economic and cultural people-to-people relationships to foster mutual understanding, as well as to create an international cooperation between communities in the United States and Japan at a subnational level.

American speakers from San Jose, CA

  • Mr. Ray Furuta - Concertized flutist, Entrepreneur, Professor of Music at Santa Clara University
  • Mr. Mitchell Tamotsu Beutler - CEO of PEAK Creative and an Internal Investigator for Wells Fargo Bank
  • Ms. Elanor Sakamoto - Translator/Interpreter for JNovels, Crunchyroll, Author of novels “Fancies”, “Left Behind”
  • Irma Garcia, M.A. - Communications and Operations Manager, Mineta Transportation Institute
  • Be’Anka Ashaolu - Co-founder and CMO at Nirvana Soul Coffee Purveyors

Japanese speakers from Okayama, Japan

  • Mr. Koichi Takayama - Entrepreneur, President of JCI Okayama
  • Mr. Yusuke Takabatake - Entrepreneur, businessman
  • Mr. Yukihiro Nigaki - Entrepreneur, businessman
  • Mr. Kiyonari Ishii - businessman
  • Mr. Takaaki Kato - Attorney at law

The U.S. and Japan also share more sister city relationships with each other than with any other country, with a total of 458 subnational partnerships at the prefecture, city, ward, town and village levels. The final report of the Forum will be presented by JCI Japan as a bilateral recommendation to the United States-Japan Conference on Cultural and Educational Interchange (CULCON) in Japan.