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Events - 09.05.2023

U.S.-Japan Trade: Leadership in Economic Security

Mt. Fuji seen from Shimizu Port

09.05.2023 (Tue.)


05:00 PM - 06:45 PM


JAPAN HOUSE Salon, Level 5



Recent times have witnessed international security crises that have had consequential global geopolitical and economic impacts. In facing these challenges, two power economies, the United States and Japan have significant roles to play in fostering a healthy global economy and robust trade. This year, major multilateral meetings take place in the U.S. and Japan. In May, Japan hosted the G7 summit in Hiroshima where the nation presented its vision for a free and open Indo-Pacific and stressed its adherence to rule-based trade. Additionally, The APEC CEO Summit will be coming to San Francisco in November with a focus on "Creating Economic Opportunity."

As part of Asia Society's global Year of Japan, ASSC will host an in-depth discussion on how Japan and the U.S. are responding to the shifting dynamics of the international economy and trade. Join us for a conversation assessing the two nations' approaches to economic security focusing on Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF), building economic resilience, de-risking relationships with China, managing supply chain flow, and the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

Speakers for this panel will be Consul General of Japan in Los Angeles Kenko Sone, Vice President of Asia Society Policy Institute (ASPI) Wendy Cutler, and former United States Secretary of Commerce and United States Trade Representative and currently, partner in Mayer Brown LLP Michael "Mickey" Kantor. Ambassador John Emerson, former United States Ambassador to Germany and Vice Chairman of Capital Group will moderate the conversation.

The program is in partnership with the Consulate General of Japan Los Angeles, Japan House Los Angeles, and ASPI.

Program Schedule

  • 5:00 PM - 5:45 PM | Registration & Welcome Reception
  • 5:45 PM - 6:45 PM | Program


Consul General Kenko Sone
Consulate General of Japan in Los Angeles

Consul General Kenko Sone arrived in the United States for Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs study & training program in summer 1990, a year after CG Sone entered the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan (MOFA). As part of the training, he spent time in Los Angeles for summer school classes. As such, he feels a special connection to this region. Upon spending two years in Connecticut for the study & training program, he was posted at the Embassy of Japan in the United States of America in Washington, D.C. for around three years from 1992 and for approximately two years from 2011.

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Among his illustrated career he was Director of OECD Division, Economic Affairs Bureau, MOFA from 2008, and in 2010, he assumed the role of Director, International Economy Division, Economic Affairs Bureau, MOFA. In 2011, he returned to the U.S. and was assigned the position of the Economic Counselor, Embassy of Japan in Washington D.C. In 2013 back in Japan, CG Sone became Director, First North America Division, North American Affairs Bureau, MOFA and in the following year, was appointed as Deputy Cabinet Secretary for Public Affairs, Cabinet Secretariat and Director, Office of Global Communications, Prime Minister's Office. In 2016, CG Sone transferred to India as the Minister (Economic & Development), Embassy of Japan in India. In 2019, CG Sone was appointed as the Deputy Director-General, Economic Affairs Bureau and in the following year, became Deputy Director-General, Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau. In June 2021, he was assigned the position of Assistant Minister, Director-General for Cultural Affairs and in July, 2021 CG Sone was designated as the Ambassador in charge of Sport and Budo.

From September 2022, about 10 years after his second assignment at the Embassy of Japan in Washington, D.C., he currently serves as Consul General of Japan in Los Angeles, a region with deep connections to Japan.

CG Sone graduated from Hitotsubashi University, Tokyo, Japan in 1989 and Wesleyan University, Connecticut in 1992.

Wendy Cutler
Vice President and Managing Director, Washington, D.C. Office, Asia Society Policy Institute (ASPI)

Wendy Cutler is Vice President at the Asia Society Policy Institute (ASPI) and the managing director of the Washington, D.C. office. In these roles, she focuses on leading initiatives that address challenges related to trade, investment, and innovation, as well as women’s empowerment in Asia.

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She joined ASPI following an illustrious career of nearly three decades as a diplomat and negotiator in the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), where she also served as Acting Deputy U.S. Trade Representative. During her USTR career, she worked on a range of bilateral, regional, and multilateral trade negotiations and initiatives, including the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, U.S.-China negotiations, and the WTO Financial Services negotiations. She has published a series of ASPI papers on the Asian trade landscape and serves as a regular media commentator on trade and investment developments in Asia and the world.

Michael Kantor
Partner, Mayer Brown LLP, Former US Secretary of Commerce and US Trade Representative

Michael "Mickey" Kantor, formerly United States Secretary of Commerce and United States Trade Representative, is a partner in Mayer Brown LLP, an international law firm headquartered in Chicago. He was the Presidential Appointee to the National Legal Services Corporation. Kantor represents companies in corporate and financial transactions on a worldwide basis. He is based in the firm’s Los Angeles, CA office.

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Kantor joined President Clinton’s first cabinet on January 21, 1993 as the United States Trade Representative. He was the President’s chief advisor on international trade policy, leading the negotiations resulting in the North American Free Trade Agreements, as well as more than 200 agreements to expand trade, including an auto and auto parts agreement with Japan and bilateral agreements in areas ranging from textiles to the protection of intellectual property rights. He served as chief negotiator to the 117-nation Uruguay Round, leading to the creation of the World Trade Organization, and convened three successful APEC meetings of leaders of the Asia-Pacific region containing the world’s fastest growing markets. Kantor was sworn in as the 31st United States Secretary of Commerce on April 12, 1996. As Secretary of Commerce, he carried forward President Clinton’s mandate to provide economic opportunity for American workers and businesses.

Kantor has a long history of public service, and currently serves on the boards of many Los Angeles-based civic organizations, including Vision to Learn, the USC Annenberg Center on Communication Leadership & Policy, and the L.A. Coalition of Economy and Jobs. Among the many honors he has received are the Civic Medal of Honor by the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, the William O. Douglas Award by the Constitutional Rights Foundation, and the Thomas Jefferson Distinguished Public Service Medal from the Center for the Study of the Presidency.

Kantor received a bachelor’s degree from Vanderbilt University in 1961. After four years of service as a naval officer, he went on to study law at the Georgetown University Law Center, and received his degree in 1968.


John Emerson
Ambassador John Emerson, Vice Chairman, Capital Group International, Inc.

Ambassador John Emerson works in global distribution as vice chairman of Capital Group International, Inc. He has 22 years of industry experience, all with Capital Group.

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He most recently served as the United States ambassador to the Federal Republic of Germany. In 2015, Ambassador Emerson was awarded the State Department's Susan M. Cobb Award for Exemplary Diplomatic Service, which is given annually to one non-career ambassador, and in 2017 he was awarded the CIA Medal and the U.S. Navy's Distinguished Public Service award.

Prior to accepting the ambassadorial posting, Ambassador Emerson was president of Private Client Services for the Capital Group Companies. Before joining Capital, he was deputy assistant to President Clinton where he coordinated his economic conferences, served as the president's liaison to the nation's governors, and led the administration's efforts to obtain congressional approval of the GATT Uruguay Round Agreement and the extension of China's MFN trading status. Additionally, he was appointed by President Obama to serve on his Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations. Before working in the Clinton White House, Ambassador Emerson served as Los Angeles Chief Deputy City Attorney, and was a partner in the law firm of Manatt, Phelps, Rothenberg, and Phillips.

Ambassador Emerson currently serves as Chairman of the American Council on Germany and on the boards of the Pacific Council on International Policy, the German Marshall Fund, the American Friends of the Munich Security Conference, the Mayor's Fund for Los Angeles, and the Music Center Foundation. Previously he served as Chairman of the Music Center of Los Angeles (2003-11), Vice Chairman of the Los Angeles Metropolitan YMCA (2007-13), and as Chair of the first ever Los Angeles City Independent Redistricting Commission (2001). He is a long-serving member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Ambassador Emerson holds an honorary doctor of laws degree from Hamilton College, a juris doctorate degree from the University of Chicago, and a bachelors degree in philosophy from Hamilton College. John is based in Los Angeles.

Presented by

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In Partnership with

JAPAN HOUSE Los Angeles, ASPI, and Consulate General of Japan Los Angeles logos
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