U.S. Soy Industry Celebrates 60th Anniversary in Japan
This September, U.S. soybean farmers and the Japanese soy industry celebrated the 60th anniversary of the presence of the U.S. Soy Industry in Japan. The American Soybean Association’s office in Tokyo was the first international U.S. Soy office, and the U.S. Soy industry has maintained a constant presence in Japan since 1956.
U.S. soybean growers were represented by grower leaders from the American Soybean Association (ASA) and the United Soybean Board (USB), as well as state-level growers and staff from Ohio and Indiana’s soybean associations. The delegation included USB director Nancy Kavazanjian; ASA director Pamela Snelson; Wisconsin soybean grower Danielle Clark; Amy Sigg Davis, director and past chairman, Ohio Soybean Council; Elaine Gillis, secretary and director, Indiana Soybean Alliance; and Jane Ade Stevens, CEO, Indiana Soybean Alliance.
In coordination with the Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) Tokyo, USSEC organized a women’s roundtable dialogue to discuss the empowerment of Japanese women and the sustainability of U.S. Soy. In addition to the six guests from the U.S., Rachel Nelson, Director of the Agricultural Trade Office (ATO) in Tokyo; Midori Iijima, Agricultural Assistant at the U.S. Embassy; and Masi Tateishi, Human Utilization Director, USSEC attended. Japanese industry participants included Masako Kato, director of Kato Oil; Ayako Miyanohara, president of Sakura Bio; and Yoko Kaneko, Itochu Food Sales and Marketing. In early October, Nikkei News will cover the story of the women’s dialogue in their newspaper.
“Japan is one of the most important markets for U.S. Soy and U.S. growers will continue to supply what Japanese customers need. We look forward to many more years of strengthening the relationships that we have built over the past 60 years.”
-USB director Nancy Kavazanjian
U.S. Ambassador Caroline Kennedy was a special guest and made congratulatory remarks at the reception.
“For both nations, there are not many main crops like soy. We are proud of the agricultural products that U.S. farmers produce and we also appreciate our Japanese customers and friends who trust and support us. We cannot think anything better than such a great combination of U.S. agricultural ingredients and Japanese foods, washoku.”
-Caroline Kennedy, U.S. Ambassador to Japan
The chairman of the Japan Oilseed Processors Association (JOPA) touched upon the “revitalization of soy” and discussed his wishes to further strengthen the U.S.-Japan partnership for many years to come.
USSEC Regional Director – North Asia Paul Burke gave closing comments, saying, “We wish to see more women at the 70th anniversary in Japan.”
In 2015, Japan purchased more than 2.3 million metric tons (MT) of U.S. soybeans, which included nearly 430,000 MT of high-value identity preserved (IP) food grade soybeans. Imports of U.S. IP food grade soybeans grew 39 percent between 2012-2015.
About 300 total Japanese customers, including officers and members of JOPA, Japan Oil & Fat Importers & Exporters Association (JOFIEA), Japan Tofu Association, Zentoren, Japan Federation of Miso Manufacturers Cooperative, Japan Soy Sauce Association, Japan Soymilk Association, Japan Natto Cooperative Society Federation, and Japanese feed-related organizations celebrated at the 60th anniversary events.
60th Anniversary Women’s Roundtable Dialogue members. From left: Elaine Gillis, secretary and director, Indiana Soybean Alliance; Jane Ade Stevens, CEO, Indiana Soybean Alliance; Pamela Snelson, ASA director; Danielle Clark, Wisconsin grower; Nancy Kavazanjian, USB director; U.S. Ambassador Caroline Kennedy (did not participate in roundtable, but attended reception); Amy Sigg Davis, director and past chairman, Ohio Soybean Council; Masako Kato, director, Kato Oil; Ayako Miyanohara, president, Sakura Bio; Yoko Kaneko, Itochu Food Sales and Marketing; and Masi Tateishi, USSEC North Asia Regional HU Manager & Japan HU Director.