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The Alliance Working in America (TAWA PDX 2022)

Forum for Reimagining the Oregon-Japan Alliance

Portland Japanese Garden and Sasakawa Peace Foundation USA have partnered to bring the program, The Alliance Working in America: Forum for Reimagining the Oregon-Japan Alliance to Portland, Oregon. This conference – TAWA PDX 2022 – explores the building blocks of the bilateral alliance through the lens of creative enterprise, climate, and sustainability industries. TAWA PDX 2022 convenes experts from the fields of government, business, education, international affairs, and sustainability for a series of two panel discussions:

  • Session 1: Agricultural Innovation and Trade in the Age of Climate Disruption
  • Session 2: Weaving the Common Threads: New Creative Dynamics in U.S.–Japan Partnership

Full Program Details

(for speaker bios, see here)

Plenary Remarks (40 mins)

Welcome Address: Steve Bloom, CEO of Portland Japanese Garden


  • Dr. Satohiro Akimoto, Chairman and President, Sasakawa Peace Foundation USA
  • Governor Kate Brown, State of Oregon
  • Consul-General Masaki Shiga, Consular Office of Japan in Portland

Keynote Address:

  • Katherine Monahan, Director, Office of Japanese Affairs, U.S. Department of State

Session 1 “Agricultural Innovation and Trade in the Age of Climate Disruption” (60 mins)


  • Ron Pernick, CEO, Clean Edge
  • Darren Padget, Chairman, U.S. Wheat Associates

Moderator: Marianna Grossman, Founder and Managing Partner, Minerva Ventures

The consequences of climate change are becoming increasingly volatile as every region contends with severe impacts, including extreme heat, extended drought, flooding, and wildfires. For centuries society operated in a world of relative climate stability, but global climate disruption presents entirely new risks and challenges – calling on society to make seismic changes in just about everything that it does. Agricultural and commercial businesses, governments, and individuals are being challenged to transform themselves and accelerate the transition to solutions that can mitigate emissions and increase resilience.

A convergence of technologies, including renewable energy and materials, electrified transportation, energy storage, circularity, big data/AI, and regenerative agriculture, is creating new platforms for adaptation and innovation. Against this backdrop, the U.S. and Japan have an opportunity to collaborate and put forward innovative strategies that put climate considerations front-and-center in their decision-making processes, including capital allocation, development of products or services, risk management, and supply-chain management. This session will examine emerging technologies, operating models, and processes to mitigate and cope with climate change with a special focus on risks and opportunities for food and agriculture innovation in the U.S. and Japan.

Session 2 “Weaving the Common Threads: New Creative Dynamics in U.S. – Japan Partnership” (60 mins)


  • John C. Jay, President and Executive Creative Director of GX, President of Global Creative, UNIQLO
  • Takeshi Ted Homma, Founder & CEO, Homma Group Inc.
  • Nobutaka Ide, President & CEO, WACOM Inc.

Moderator: Zeljka Carol Kekez, Founder and Principal, PLACE

Portland knows prosperity is not achieved simply through mass-production and mass-marketing with matching consumption. As home to some of the world’s most mission-driven creative enterprises, the city stands at the forefront of green and creative branding grounded in cultural diversity and environmental conservation. New technologies such as 3-D printing and other high-tech manufacturing are rapidly changing conventional creative dynamics while compelling brands to reassess their competitive edge across all types of international partnerships. Through their trans-pacific partnerships, what innovative impact do businesses in Oregon and Japan provide to communities of the Pacific Northwest and beyond?

This session presents first-hand case studies of some of the most iconic enterprises from both Oregon and Japan that are reinventing their creative creed through international collaborations.


This event is brought to you by the Sasakawa Peace Foundation USA & Japan Institute of Portland Japanese Garden


Japan Institute

Japan Institute can be best understood as the next evolution of Portland Japanese Garden. These sibling organizations share a vision – to be a leading global voice for cultural understanding, in pursuit of a more peaceful, sustainable world.