Friday, August 29, 2014

Japan-Hawaii Legislators' Friendship Association Holds International Talks at Hawaii Convention Center

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

Friday, August 22, 2014

Statement by Speaker Joseph M. Souki on the passing of former Hawaii Island Legislator Robert Herkes

Representative Robert (Bob) Herkes

“Hawaii has lost a dedicated and passionate public servant who championed protecting consumer rights during his 18 years in the State House of Representatives. Bob worked tirelessly to pass legislation that strengthened the rights of residents in mortgage foreclosures. He was an early and strong advocate of natural disaster preparedness and was one of the first to call attention to the health effects of vog. He was a good legislator, highly respected by his colleagues and a great friend. I will miss him.

On behalf of the House of Representatives I would like to offer our condolences to his wife Jo-Anna and his sons Bobby, Kenny and Doug.”

Robert N. Herkes served in the State House for 18 years until 2012, representing District 5 (Puna, Ka'u, South Kona, North Kona).

His political career began in 1982 when he served on the Hawai'i County Police Commission. Then in 1994, he was elected to the Hawai'i County Council. In 1988, he was appointed to the State Senate to fill the seat vacated by former Hawai`i Island Senator Richard Henderson. He was elected to the State House in 1992, ran for Hawai'i County Mayor in 2000, and was re-elected to the State House in 2002. A retired hotel executive, Representative Herkes graduated with honors from Cornell Hotel School and worked in the hospitality industry for 40 years.