JBA was established in 1961 and celebrated its 60th anniversary this spring.  Therefore, on March 12, a commemorative event was held online to reflect back on the past 60 years and deepen mutual understanding with the local community for the future.


Developing  into a good corporate citizen over 60 years


After the JBA introductory video and opening remarks by Mr. Sano of the Business & Commerce Committee who served as MC, JBA President Mitsumori took the stage and said, “60 years ago, in a time when the Japanese brand image was not yet established, I can only imagine the struggles Japanese companies went through back then. Currently, Japan is the largest investor in California and has created the most jobs. Going forward, we must continue to fulfill our responsibilities as good corporate citizens in the local community.”

Next, congratulatory video messages were sent from Japanese Foreign Minister Motegi, Rep. Mark Takano, Mayor Patrick Furey of Torrance, and Masaharu Kohno, Executive Board Member of the Tokyo Organizing Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games. Then, Stephen Cheung of the LAEDC introduced the impact of Japanese companies on the economy of Southern California in numbers.


Japan is more like family than friends


In the second half, a panel discussion was held around the theme of “Reflecting on JBA’s Past 60 Years” with Yuko Kaifu, Director of Japan House Los Angeles, as the facilitator. One of the panelists, Akira Muto, Consul General of Japan in Los Angeles, emphasized that “Japan and California will continue to collaborate on climate change,” highlighting the bond between the two.  “Our relationship is one that surpasses friends, like family,” LA Mayor Eric Garcetti commented on Japan’s special presence. “For Japanese companies, we have reason to invest in California, starting with the building of infrastructure,” said JBA President Mitsumori. California Senator Bob Hertzberg also asserted that “Japanese companies play an important role in the field of green power.” California Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi followed by citing the significance of JBA’s activities, “JBA has made significant contributions to the educators of South Bay.”

Additionally, LAEDC’s President Bill Allen commented, “Japanese companies have revolutionized our economy. Honda, Toyota, Union Bank, Epson…the list goes on. We will continue to listen to the voices of Japanese companies who are our partners.” Other panelists agreed to these words.

Thereafter, former professional baseball player Hideki Matsui sent a congratulatory video message from New York, and LA-based musician Kunihiko Murai played his own “Tsubasa wo Kudasai (Give Me Wings)” on the piano. Finally, President Mitsumori thanked all the supporters and guests, and the commemorative event came to an end.


Anniversary Reception

Caption: A panel discussion affirming the cooperation between Japanese companies and the local community.