Nakama guests included (from left) Shinichi Takemoto of DOWA THT America Inc.; featured speaker Bruce Brownlee of Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing Inc.; BGSU President Mary Ellen Mazey; Akiko Jones, BGSU Asian Studies instructor who organized the event; and William Schlatter, a 2007 Asian Studies alumnus and a representative of the Consulate-General of Japan in Detroit.
NAKAMA UNITES BGSU, CITY AND JAPANESE BUSINESS LEADERS
“I aspire to be an engaged global citizen and leader.”
That is the third line of Bowling Green State University’s Creed. And it’s a sentence that BGSU alumnus Thomas Snitch refers to daily, and which he asked participants in Wednesday (Feb. 8) night’s Nakama event to reflect upon regularly.
Nakama, a BGSU-hosted event that translates to “friend” in Japanese, brings together people who believe in fostering friendship and cooperation between Japanese and American business executives. The event, which was started in 1989 by the Asian Studies Program, also encourages mutual understanding of Japanese and American cultures. This spring’s event—the 46th Nakama meeting—welcomed 60 individuals representing Japanese businesses, the city of Bowling Green, U.S. companies and organizations that do business with Japanese companies, higher education and the Consulate-General of Japan in Detroit.
Snitch ’75, ’15 (Hon.), president of Little Falls Associates Inc., and chief scientist at GeoQuera, praised the Nakama guests for their roles as global leaders.
“This past year was a watershed year for U.S. and Japanese relations,” he said. President Barack Obama’s historic visit to Hiroshima and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s visit to commemorate Pearl Harbor’s 75th anniversary “set the table for important events between the countries.”
Abe, his deputy prime minister and economic minister’s visit to the U.S. to meet with President Donald Trump is historic as well. “I spent years in Japan, and I don’t remember when that many senior officials came to the U.S. at one time.”
“America has no better friend than Japan,” according to Snitch, “I hope their visit is a win-win for the U.S. and Japan.”
Bruce Brownlee, senior executive administrator for external affairs at Toyota, was the keynote speaker. He shared “Toyota’s Vision for a Future Hydrogen Society” and dicussed the company’s plans for hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.