Yokohama City Mayor Fumiko Hayashi traveled to New York, delivering a lecture at Stony Brook University and promoting the opening of Yokohama’s new NYC-based representative office.
The Mayor, alongside a delegation from Yokohama including leaders from the Yokohama City Council, Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and municipal government, arrived in New York City on November 24, 2019, kicking off a packed three-days of intercity promotion and exchange. The impetus for this trip was the opening ceremony being held for the new Office of the City of Yokohama Representative to the Americas, which was established in New York City late last year.
Lecture at Stony Brook University
On Monday morning, Mayor Hayashi traveled to Stony Brook University to deliver a lecture titled “Empowering Empathy and Grace in Leadership” to an audience of around 200 students, faculty, and other guests. The lecture, given in Japanese and simultaneously translated into English, touched on the Mayor’s insights and experiences from her extensive history as a business executive in Japan, including acting as the President of BMW Tokyo, President of Nissan Auto Sales, and CEO of The Daiei, a large retail company in Japan. Given her long history of powerful business positions, and being elected the first female mayor of Yokohama, Japan’s second largest city, Mayor Hayashi has also been included in the Wall Street Journal’s 50 Women to Watch, Forbes Magazine’s World’s 100 Most Powerful Women, and Fortune Magazine’s 50 Most Powerful Women in Business: International.
Mayor Fumiko Hayashi has made female empowerment a cornerstone of her policy and platform in Japan, and brought up in her speech at Stony Brook that even though the number of female executives in Japan is still very low, she herself was still able to achieve her goals and make an impact. She encouraged students of all genders to not let a male-dominated business environment or pre-established system or get in the way of their own drive and ambition, and finished by taking the time to answer a large number of questions from excited audience members.
The City of Yokohama and Stony Brook have developed a strong relationship over the last year, with Yokohama City representatives having visited the university on Long Island, NY, and Stony Brook university representatives likewise traveling to Yokohama in February. Traveling alongside the Yokohama City Mayor’s entourage were representatives of Yokohama City University, who met with Stony Brook faculty on Monday to discuss possible avenues of inter-academic collaboration moving forward. The relationship between the City of Yokohama and Stony Brook University has largely been facilitated by the establishment of Yokohama’s Representative Office in New York, and Mayor Hayashi’s lecture, jointly-organized by this office and the Office of Global Affairs at Stony Brook, marks just the next step in those burgeoning relations.
Opening Ceremony of the Representative Office to the Americas
After delivering the speech at Stony Brook, Mayor Hayashi traveled back to New York City to attend, speak at, and meet with guests of the opening ceremony for the aforementioned Office of the City of Yokohama Representative to the Americas. The reception was held at The Harvard Club of New York, and was attended by 150 valued guests from various sectors including government and Japanese and U.S. companies, making for a night of great networking and conversation for companies from across America and New York City to Yokohama and Japan as a whole.
There were a number of speeches delivered at the ceremony, including from Mayor Hayashi herself and select guest speakers. Makoto Sekiyama, Representative at the newly-established office, spoke first, welcoming guests and introducing the Mayor. Mayor Hayashi then delivered her speech in English, thanking attendees for their support and mentioning that she was “honored that many American companies continue to choose Yokohama as their gateway to business in Japan.” She also paid special honor and welcome to the representative in attendance from Mini-Circuits, a Brooklyn-based RF and Wireless electronics company that established a Japanese subsidiary in Yokohama in August.
Mayor Hayashi’s speech was followed by one from Ana Ariño, Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer at New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC). Ana noted the similarities between Yokohama and New York City, both being innovation-driven port cities that have forged powerful international relationships. She also expressed interest in furthering collaboration between NYCEDC and the City of Yokohama through the new Representative Office.
Kanji Yamanouchi, Ambassador and Consul General of Japan in New York, spoke second, his speech centering on Yokohama’s important history as one of the premier entry points into Japan, which has cemented its status throughout Japan as a storied hotspot for international business and influence both historically and in the modern era. He expressed his unwavering support for the city and its new office, pledging to assist in the continued relations between the Japanese city and the U.S.
Peter Pfeiffer, Senior Partner at McKinsey and Company, followed the Ambassador. In his speech, Peter spoke highly of Yokohama, remarking that the city fits McKinsey’s benchmark definition of a ‘superstar city’ due to its fulfilling the three key conditions: a strong base in science and innovation, with focus on breakthroughs in AI and data science; a strong pool of talent and academia, unrivalled by any other city in Japan; and strong diversity, with strong international ties, a large population of foreigners and a plentitude of international schools. Peter finished by calling Yokohama a “fantastic place to live and conduct business,” a sentiment echoed throughout the night by the other speakers.
As the city’s sole U.S.-based location, the newly-established Office of the City of Yokohama Representative to the Americas seeks to deepen Yokohama’s international ties, creating and exploring opportunities for international collaboration between Yokohama and cities across America. In addition, the office serves as a point of contact for U.S. companies seeking to do business or expand into the Japanese market, and vice versa for Japanese companies looking to access the U.S. market. For more information on the Yokohama Representative Office’s activities and the benefits of doing business in Yokohama, see the office’s official website.