From the March 2015 Desktop News | A delegation selected by the Japanese government traveled to The University of Alabama on March 3 to discuss Japanese society, business, technology and culture in the second annual “Walk in U.S., Talk on Japan” symposium.
The goal of the symposium, led by Yasuo Saito, former Japanese Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Russia and France, is to increase awareness of Japan’s foreign and economic policies in the United States and to strengthen the relationship between the United States and Japan through people-to-people diplomacy.
In addition to Saito, the delegation included Hiroshi Tsukamoto, former deputy director general for Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry; Tetsuo Mamada, former president of Mitsui Bussan Steel Trade Co., Ltd.; Mio Iwai, a Japanese university student; and Chitose Nagao, consulting supervisor and copywriter for Dentsu, one of the largest public relations and advertising agencies in Japan.
In two sessions, the participants discussed the Japanese economy, the 70th anniversary of World War II, prospects for the Tokyo Olympics, Japan’s energy strategy since the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake, Japanese trading companies and investment, university life in Japan, and rediscovering the value of Japan through women, technology and culture. Both of the sessions included breakout discussion time with the panelists.
Mio Iwai, a fourth-year student at the University of Tsukuba in Japan, shared her experience studying abroad and examined ways to increase the number of Japanese students who study in America. Iwai discussed how students in Japan view studying abroad as a risk, because they miss the vital job-hunting period that takes place each spring.
The delegation’s visit to Tuscaloosa was part of a larger tour of the Southeast, including visits to Atlanta, Chattanooga and Memphis.
The event was sponsored by the Critical Languages Center/Japanese program in the Department of Modern Languages and Classics and was supported by The University of Alabama’s Office of the President, the UA System’s Vice Chancellor for Government Relations and Economic Development, Culverhouse College of Commerce, Center for Materials for Information Technology and Capstone International Programs.