Japan-America Society of Indiana
Japan Currents Symposium 2020
The Currents of Change, Challenge, and Innovation

Wednesday, February 26th, 2020
Hyatt Regency Indianapolis 

The Japan-America Society of Indiana (JASI) presented the "Japan Currents Symposium 2020" on Wednesday, February 26th, at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Indianapolis.  The theme of the Symposium was “The Currents of Change and Innovation”, anticipating key developments for Japan and the U.S. in the coming year.  Change and challenge are forecasted for 2020, with the influence of the upcoming U.S. Presidential election; ongoing geopolitical challenges in security and trade; and the excitement of Japan hosting the Olympics; and new concerns about covid-19 impacting supply chains.  The Keynote Luncheon featured two speakers, Consul-General of Japan in Chicago Kenichi Okada, and Ambassador Stephen Akard, Director of the Office of Foreign Missions of the U.S. Department of State, providing perspectives on the Japan-U.S. relationship.  Later in the program, Tobias Harris, Senior Vice President of the Teneo firm, offered commentary on the Trump and Abe administrations and their respective foreign policies, with observations on implications for the Japan-U.S. alliance. 

This year’s agenda looked at the topic of workforce development through the lens of “quality of life”, with panelists speaking on the work/life expectations of a younger generation workforce and how Japanese manufacturers are adapting, and best practices in employee attraction and retention. 

Headlining the agenda and highlighting the quality of life theme, JASI was honored to welcome the Reverend Daiko Matsuyama, Vice Abbot of the Taizo-in Temple in Kyoto.  Reverend Matsuyama spoke on the influence of Buddhist principles in Japanese business philosophy, emphasizing corporate values of a long-term management view; a conservative and efficient management of resources; and a steady focus on core business. 

Featured corporate presentations on global technological development were given by Leah Curry, President of Toyota Motor Manufacturing of Indiana in Princeton, Indiana; and Masahiko Nittono, General Manager and Chief Corporate Representative, NTT Corporation, Washington D.C.  Leah spoke on the launch of the new Toyota Highlander, innovations in vehicle manufacturing, fuel cell technology, and futuristic mobility vehicles.  Nittono-san described the development of NTT’s advanced data networks and the advantages of its IOWN phonetics network, and the applications of NTT technology in smart sports, including the IndyCar Series and at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. 

We are grateful to the Embassy of Japan for its financial support and to the National Association of Japan-America Societies for its leadership and guidance.  

Speakers (Alphabetical):

Ambassador Stephen J. Akard, Director, Office of Foreign Missions, U.S. Department of State
Leah Curry, President, Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Indiana
Mark Elwood, Chairman and CEO, Elwood Staffing
Tobias Harris, Senior Vice President, Teneo
Larry Ingraham, President, Ingraham & Associates
Peter Kelley, President, National Association of Japan-America Societies
Theresa Kulczak, Executive Director, Japan-America Society of Indiana
Cindy Madrick, Vice President, Cornerstone Environmental, Health & Safety
Reverend Daiko Matsuyama, Deputy Head Priest, Taizo-In Temple, Kyoto
Shuichiro Miyagawa, Company Secretary, Aisin Holdings of America
Tomofumi Nishizawa, Executive Director, JETRO Chicago
Masahiko Nittono, General Manager and Chief Corporate Representative, NTT Corporation
The Honorable Kenichi Okada, Consul-General of Japan in Chicago, Consulate-General of Japan in Chicago
Andrea Richter-Garry, Vice President-International Engagement, Indiana Economic Development Corporation
Jim Riggs, President & CEO, NTN Driveshaft; President, JASI Board of Directors
Brad Rhorer, Chief Talent Programs Officer, Conexus Indiana
Bernard Swiecki, Senior Automotive Director, Center for Automotive Research

Presented By:

With Appreciation to our Sponsors: