31st Annual Joint Meeting
Japan-U.S. Southeast Association &
Southeast U.S./Japan Association
OCTOBER 14-16, 2007
Imperial Hotel Tokyo, Japan


The Japan-U.S. Southeast Association and the Southeast U.S./Japan Association held their 31st Annual Joint Meeting in Tokyo, Japan, October 14 to 16, 2007 with the theme of “Building on Three Decades of Success”. The Chairmen presiding over the meeting were SEUS Chairman Thomas F. Petway, III and the new Japan Chairman, Hiromasa Yonekura. Approximately 100 Japanese and 350 American delegates participated this year. We were honored by the presence of the SEUS state delegation leaders—Dr. Dale Brill, Director, the Governor’s Office of Tourism, Trade and Economic Development, the State of Florida, this year’s co-host state; the Hon. Bob Riley, Governor, the State of Alabama; the Hon. Sonny Perdue, Governor, the State of Georgia; the Hon. Phil Bredesen, Governor, the State of Tennessee; Mr. Gray Swoope, Executive Director of the Mississippi Development Authority; the Hon. Jim Fain, Secretary of Commerce, the State of North Carolina; the Hon. Hugh K. Leatherman, Senator, the State of South Carolina Senate; and the Hon. Patrick Gottschalk, Secretary of Commerce and Trade, the Commonwealth of Virginia--and also by the participation of the Consuls General of Japan, the Hon. Hiroshi Yamaguchi, from Miami, and the Hon. Shoji Ogawa, from Atlanta.

In the Opening Ceremony, Chairman Yonekura started the Joint Meeting by noting that this year markes the opening of a new, fourth decade for the Annual Joint Meeting. Chairman Yonekura recognized the strong commitment and strenuous effort the members of the Associations have made over the past three decades and highlighted the growth of their friendship, referring to the State of Mississippi becoming a new member state of the Southeast U.S./Japan Association this year. Plenary Session I started with opening words by Mr. Fujio Mitarai, Chairman of Nippon Keidanren and Chairman & CEO of Canon, Inc., followed by a keynote speech by Mr. Charles Brown, President, International, Office Depot, Inc. At the Luncheon Program, we were privileged to have speeches by His Excellency J. Thomas Schieffer, the U.S. Ambassador to Japan, and the Hon. Yoshitaka Shindo, Japan’s Senior Vice Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry.

In Breakout Session I-A, “Investment to the Southeast U.S.”, the Hon. Seth Hammett, Speaker of the House, the State of Alabama; Mr. Masayoshi Kamiura, Senior Vice President of Toray Industries Inc.; Mr. Akihiko Shido, President of YOROZU Corporation; Mr. Norimichi Kanari, Deputy President of the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Ltd.; and Mr. Masaharu Shibata, Chairman of NGK Insulators, Ltd. and Vice Chairman, Board of Councilors of Nippon Keidanren, discussed the cooperation between the SEUS states and Japanese companies in the region and the future of the investment to the SEUS. In Breakout Session II-A, “Investment to Japan”, Mr. Yasuo Hayashi, Chairman of JETRO; North Carolina Secretary of Commerce Jim Fain; Mr. Gery Messer, President, Asia Pacific/Japan, of Red Hat Asia Pacific; and the Hon. Kenichi Hanamori, Lieutenant Governor of Shizuoka Prefecture; reviewed Japan’s efforts to invite investment and considered keys to investment that benefits both Japan and US companies.

In Breakout Session I-B, “Trade & Logistics”, the Hon. Phil Bredesen, Governor, the State of Tennessee; Mr. Masamichi Ujiie, Regional Vice President of FedEx Express, North Pacific; Mr. Shoichi Abbe, President of the Sumitomo Warehouse Co., Ltd.; and Mr. Eizo Kobayashi, President & CEO of ITOCHU Corporation presented their views on the outlook for the trading and logistics industries in U.S. and Japan and measures for further growth. Breakout Session II-B addressed an environmental issue that now draws global attention, “Energy & Alternative Fuels”. We invited the Hon. Akira Nishino, Director of the House of Representatives’ Committee on Environment; Mr. Thomas W. Johnson, Research Program Manager of Southern Company; Mr. Bill Schafer, Senior Vice President of Business Development of Range Fuels; and Mr. Takahiko Yamamoto, President of NEDO.

October 16 started with the Plenary Session II, in which Mr. Etsuhiko Shoyama, Chairman of Hitachi, Ltd. and a member of the Council for Science and Technology Policy delivered a presentation on innovation. In the Panel Session, “Education & Training”, Mr. Morio Ikeda, Advisor to the Board of Shiseido Co., Ltd. and Deputy Chairman of the Education Rebuilding Council; Dr. Robert P. Leber, Director of Education and Workforce Development, Northrop Grumman Newport News; Dr. Barry Russell, President of South Carolina Technical College System; and Mr. Ryoji Chubachi, President of Sony Corporation, Vice Chairman of Nippon Keidanren’s Board of Councillors and Co-chairman of Nippon Keidanren’s Committee on Industrial Technology, discussed key facets of the theme such as school education and human resource development.

Throughout our program, we exchanged views and opinions with our guest experts and delegates and deepened our understanding on the issues of mutual interest ranging from investment, trade and the economy to education, training and energy issues, and at the same time, had the pleasure of seeing long-time friends and making new friends. In this year’s Joint Meeting, we reconfirmed the significance of our partnership fostered over the past three decades and reaffirmed our commitment to the joint effort to build our better future.

In the Closing Ceremony, the meeting was adjourned with an announcement that the 32nd Annual Joint Meeting will be held in Raleigh, North Carolina, October 19 to 21, 2008.