A Friday for Japan

Friday, March 14, 2014

The "A Friday for Japan" Program was a wonderful event thanks to the support and dedication from the Chicago office of the Japan External Trade Organization and the Consulate General of Japan at Chicago. Below is a summary and some photographs from the afternoon.

JETRO Kizuna Presentation:
Japan's Economy and the Recovery of Tohoku

Ms. Keiko Yanai, Deputy Consul General, Consul General of Japan at Chicago

The Consulate General of Japan at Chicago and the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Chicago office, in partnership with the Japan-America Society of Indiana and the Indiana Japan Chamber, hosted a special presentation on Friday, March 14th in Indianapolis at the Columbia Club. The event was presented in commemoration of the 3rd Anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake and examined the state of Japan's recovery and it's economy.

The Consul General of Japan at Chicago also presented several striking display panels of the Great East Japan Earthquake which brought into focus the reality of the tragedy.

JASI was pleased to host a premiere screening of the new documentary film by Director & Producer Wesly Julian, "Tohoku Tomo" which focused on the recovery efforts by American's and other International visitors to Japan during the time of the earthquake and tsunami.

"Paro -chan " also joined the program from JETRO Chicago.

Ms. Akiko Nakagawa,JETRO

The program featured Ms. Akiko Nakagawa, a native of Fukushima, who was working at JETRO's office in Sendai at the time of The Great East Japan Earthquake. Ms. Nakagawa shared her personal account of the earthquake and tsunami and the effect it had on the region. She also spoke about the progress of the recovery and the challenges faced by local industries, especially the manufacturing, agriculture and fishing sectors.

Ms. Nakagawa shared with us personal photographs of the JETRO office in Sendai which was a disaster after the earthquake. But she ended on more positive notes, saying "The production index for the manufacturing sector in the disaster area has almost been restored to the level before the earthquake."


Mr. Ichiro Soné, JETRO Chicago

Mr. Ichiro Soné of JETRO Chicago provided an update on the progress of Abenomics, the economic reform measures put forth by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. He also spoke about the major structural changes the Japan economy will soon undertake.

Mr. Soné's was very positive in his prediction's of Japan's future, confirming that Prime Minister Abe's economic recovery plans are working as intended.

Mindy Linn, a JASI volunteer, has been in continuous support of the town of Taro and their recovery with a campaign called Tsunami Taro. Mindy displayed Yuitori Craft goods from Taro for sale for her funderaiser. Yoitori Crafts are handmade crafts that ladies from the town of Taro create using the sawing machines Mindy was able to provide to them through donations.

Tohoku Tomo:
Indiana Premiere

Tohoku Tomo is a documentary film telling the story of true friendship and commitment to Japan's recovery by the international community following the Great East Japan Earthquake. Countless people dropped what they were doing and dedicated themselves to Japan's recovery. Many of them even took it upon themselves to establish non-profit organizations aimed at connecting with and rebuilding Tohoku and its communities. At the core of all these organizations are individualts - people connected and committed to the Tohoku region. These founders and volunteers are true friends of Tohoku. They are, in Japanese, Tohoku Tomo. For more information, visit www.TohokuTomo.com

Wesley Julian - Director & Producer

The documentary was made with the hardwork of:
- Wesley Julian - Director & Producer
- Daniel Martin - Associate Producer & Translation
- Elizabeth Gordon - Associate Producer & Screenwriter
- Philip Holbrook - Director of Photography
- Tim Schraeder - Design & Marketing
- Overcoast Music LLC - Music & Sound Design

Please visit and "Like" "Tohoku Tomo"'s facebook page.

Here is the Indianapolis premiere's photo album.

Paro Therapeutic Robot


*Tohoku - The northeast region of Japan's main island and the region most greatly affected by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

*Kizuna - the bonds or the connections between people in the sense of friendship.  The word came to the forefront following the disasters in 2011 as people around the world offered support to Japan. Locally, through the generosity of Hoosiers and Japanese throughout Indiana, the Japan-America Society of Indiana raised nearly $900,000 in support for earthquake relief in Tohoku.