Six Major Companies Join as Key Partners in TOMODACHI Initiative

Ambassador Kennedy welcomes new support for U.S.-Japan Exchanges

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December 13, 2013

Six leading global companies today become the newest partners in the TOMODACHI Initiative, a groundbreaking public-private partnership. The TOMODACHI Initiative was launched following the Great East Japan Earthquake by the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo and the U.S.-Japan Council, an educational non-profit organization, with the support of the Government of Japan.

Honda Motor Co., Ltd., Metlife Alico Life Insurance K.K., Prudential Financial, Inc., Sumitomo Corporation, Suntory Holdings Limited and Toshiba Corporation are the latest companies to contribute to TOMODACHI, which invests in the next generation of leaders on both sides of the Pacific to strengthen cultural and economic ties between the United States and Japan.

The contributions from these six top firms - amounting to over $6 million - will create new TOMODACHI Programs. These programs will allow many young Japanese and Americans to participate in high-quality educational, cultural exchange and leadership programs. These important corporate commitments will provide the skills and opportunities the students need to pursue their dreams, and contribute to strengthening the U.S.-Japan partnership in the future.

Today, following a roundtable discussion where U.S. Ambassador Caroline B. Kennedy will speak with TOMODACHI alumni from the Tohoku region, representatives of the six companies will join Ambassador Kennedy and U.S.-Japan Council President Irene Hirano Inouye at the Ambassador's Residence in Tokyo for a special event to announce the new commitments. Japanese Foreign Minister Fumihiko Kishida and many corporate donors will also join the event.

"Through these corporate contributions to TOMODACHI, we are launching scholarship programs at top music schools in the United States, we are supporting education and collaboration in science and technology, we are supporting and mentoring young female leaders, we are supporting academic year-abroad scholarships, we are creating unique new exchange programs, and we are offering further support to our program alumni to allow them to continue their connections with the United States and with each other," Ambassador Kennedy said. "I am so grateful for the generous support of these new strategic partners, and I look forward to working with all of you during my time as Ambassador to bring our nations even closer through the connections between our young people."

The leaders of the new partner companies offered their comments:

"Honda has long appreciated our special relationship with the American people, and the success of our company is due in part to the deep roots we have established in America," said Fumihiko Ike, Chairman and Representative Director, Honda Motor Co., Ltd. "In addition to supporting the important reconstruction effort of the Tohoku region, the TOMODACHI Initiative helped turn the devastation of the Great East Japan Earthquake into an opportunity to further the friendship between the United States and Japan. We want to see this effort continue to grow in the future."

"MetLife Alico is honored to sponsor the TOMODACHI Initiative. As the first foreign life insurer in Japan with over 40 years of history, we are committed to strengthening the communities in which we operate," said Sachin N. Shah, Director, Representative Statutory Executive Officer and Chairman, President & CEO, Metlife Alico Life Insurance K.K. "Metlife Alico Japan is particularly interested in developing female talent and enabling their career progression. The TOMODACHI MetLife Women's Leadership Program will encourage program participants to grow as individuals and professionals, contributing to women's empowerment in Japan."

John Strangfeld, Chairman and CEO, Prudential Financial, Inc., stated: "We are proud to support the TOMODACHI program, whose goals, like those of the U.S.-Japan Council, closely align with our objectives and values as a company: to build bridges and understanding between our cultures; to foster the development of future generations of leaders; and to lay the groundwork for even more productive partnerships between our two countries."

Kuniharu Nakamura, President and CEO, Sumitomo Corporation, stated: "Sumitomo Corporation expresses its respect for the activities of the TOMODACHI Initiative and is proud to be involved as a partner in promoting the development of Japanese and American human resources to serve as the mainstay of the next generation. We look forward to the emergence of many new leaders who will act as bridges between our two countries and play active roles globally."

Nobutada Saji, President, Suntory Holdings Limited, stated: "Suntory Group has helped revitalize the Tohoku region by supporting the fishing industry, the next generation of leaders, as well as cultural and sports activities. This time, together with the TOMODACHI Initiative, we are excited to support aspiring young musicians who we hope will become leaders to contribute to the revival of the Tohoku region and to the future of U.S.-Japan relations."

"As a strategic partner of the TOMODACHI Initiative, we are pleased to contribute to reinforcing the already strong ties between the United States and Japan," says Atsutoshi Nishida, Chairman, Toshiba Corporation. "We are deeply committed to promoting innovation, and we want our program to help cultivate a love of science among future leaders in the United States and Japan and encourage friendship."

The new multi-year TOMODACHI programs funded by the six corporations include:

  • Honda Motor Co., Ltd.
    Funding to support Japanese students going to California for a homestay and cultural exchange program centered around the Rose Bowl Parade.

  • Metlife Alico Life Insurance K.K.
    Funding to support leadership and mentoring programs for young Japanese women.

  • Prudential Financial, Inc.
    Funding to support TOMODACHI alumni in the United States and Japan to stay connected with TOMODACHI and to provide follow-on leadership development opportunities.

  • Sumitomo Corporation
    Funding to support university exchange programs between the United States and Japan.

  • Suntory Holdings Limited
    Funding to support Japanese full-time undergraduate study at prestigious U.S. music conservatories (Julliard School, San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and Berklee College of Music).

  • Toshiba Corporation
    Funding to support U.S. high school science students to come to Japan for a week-long program, where they would study science and technology with their Japanese counterparts.

About the TOMODACHI Initiative

The TOMODACHI Initiative is a public-private partnership, born out of support for Japan's recovery from the Great East Japan Earthquake, that invests in the next generation of Japanese and American leaders through educational and cultural exchanges as well as entrepreneurship and leadership programs. We seek to foster a "TOMODACHI generation" of young American and Japanese leaders who are committed to and engaged in strengthening U.S.-Japan relations, appreciate each other's countries and cultures, and possess the global skills and mindsets needed to contribute to and thrive in a more cooperative, prosperous, and secure world. TOMODACHI Initiative website: