Hawaii State Legislators and members of the Japanese House of Councillors met yesterday to hold the second international meeting of the Japan-Hawaii Legislators’ Friendship Association (JHLFA) at the Hawaii Convention Center. The parties engaged in discussions on a wide range of common topics important to Hawaii and Japan focusing on political, economic, and business matters.
The association was formed to hold legislative-level dialogue to strengthen relationships between Japan and Hawaii.
Japan’s visiting delegation was comprised of members from the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) majority party of the House of Councillors. The House of Councillors is the upper house of the Japanese National Diet, equivalent to the United States Senate.
Heading the Japanese delegation were JHLFA Chairperson Mr. Hiromi Yoshida and Chief Whip Masaji Matsuyama. Hawaii’s JHLFA Chairperson is State Representative Scott K. Saiki with Former Governor George Ariyoshi serving as Honorary Advisor. Participants at the meeting included sixteen members of the Japanese Diet, twelve Hawaii lawmakers, Hawaii Tourism Authority President Mike McCartney, Hawaii state officials, the Honolulu Consul General of Japan, the Hawaii Business Roundtable, and various local Japan-affiliated organizations.
The meetings commenced with private discussions between the parties on the political climate of Japanese and Hawaii relationships, followed by business and economic presentations on topics of mutual interest such as the facilitation and growth of tourism to Hawaii, the proliferation of renewable energies, and the international development of young emerging leaders in Hawaii and Japan.
The day’s sessions also included an awards ceremony to recognize individuals and organizations that have contributed to the development of economic and cultural ties between Hawaii and Japan. The honorees were:
- Hawaii HIS Corporation - Honolulu Ekiden & Music
- Mr. Konosuke Oda, General Manager
- Honolulu Japanese Chamber of Commerce
- Mr. Wayne Ishihara, President
- JALPAK International Hawaii Inc. - Hula Ho'olauna Aloha
- Mr. Shinji Iijima, President
- Japan Hawaii Travel Association
- Mr. Akio Hoshino, President & Chair
- Japanese Culture Center of Hawaii
- Ms. Carole Hayashino, President & Executive Director
- JTB Hawaii Inc. - Honolulu Festival
- Mr. Tsukasa Harufuku, President & CEO
- Kinki Nippon Tourist Company Inc. (Kintetsu) – Pan Pacific Festival
- Mr. Manabu Yada, President
- Mr. Masaharu Matsuoka, Vice President
- Ms. Christine Kubota, Pan Pacific Festival Chair
- Consulate General of Japan in Honolulu
- Consul General Toyoei Shigeeda
- Deputy Consul General Kazunari Tanaka