38th Annual Joint Meeting

Initiative for a sustainable future through continuous innovation

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* For states registering outside of Alabama, please contact your state representative listed below.

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The stage is being set in Birmingham, Alabama for the 38th Annual Joint Meeting of the Southeast U.S./Japan and the Japan-U.S Southeast Associations (SEUS Japan) November 14-17, 2015. This prestigious gathering of global business leaders celebrates longstanding economic and cultural ties and offers delegates from Japan and seven Southeastern U.S. member states unparalleled opportunities to forge new ones.

Read More About The Joint Meeting

Created in 1976, the Southeast U.S./Japan Association was established to promote trade, investment, understanding, and friendship between Japan and U.S. member states. Today, member states include Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee. A Japanese counterpart, the Japan-U.S. Southeast Association, is composed of Japan's top business leaders and government officials. 

An annual conference between the two associations is held on a rotational basis in Japan and the Southeastern U.S. Also on a rotational basis, each of the seven states serves as "Host and Co-host State" for a two-year term and assumes leadership of SEUS/Japan during that period. Alabama last hosted the meeting in Mobile in 1998.

The annual conference attracts governors, presidents and CEOs, and top economic development and business leaders from the seven southeastern states. Some 400-500 individuals participate in this annual event. Meetings include top business and political leadership, including Ambassadors and Consul Generals, all representing the most significant aspects of the economic relationship between Japan and the Southeast.

The 2015 conference features an outstanding lineup of speakers and an exciting series of special activities. This year’s conference theme “Initiative for a Sustainable Future Through Continuous Innovation” will be reflected in conference sessions on timely and valuable topics including best practices, competitiveness in a global economy, and advanced manufacturing in aerospace and automotive industries, just to name a few.











To attend the SEUS Japan Annual Joint Meeting you must be selected as a delegate to the conference by one of the member jurisdictions in either the United States of Japan.

For residents of member states interested in attending the conference, contact your state’s SEUS Japan coordinator:


Ms. Hilda Lockhart
Director, International Trade Division
Alabama Department of Commerce

401 Adams Avenue
Montgomery, AL 36130-4106
(334) 242-0442
Mobile Phone
(334) 328-2460
(334) 242-0415


Mr. Dave Woodward
Executive Director
Florida Delegation, Southeast U.S./Japan

P.O. Box 226647
Miami, FL 33222-6647
(786) 235-8289
(786) 235-8290


Ms. Danielle Inman
International Trade Promotions Manager
Georgia Department of Economic Development

75 Fifth Street, N.W.
Suite 1200
Atlanta, GA 30308
(770) 654-0726


Ms. Regina Todd
Project Manager, Global Business Division
Mississippi Development Authority

P.O. Box 849
Jackson, MS 39205
(601) 359-5756
Mobile Phone
(601) 720-9968

North Carolina

Mr. David Rhoades
Deputy Communications Director
North Carolina Department of Commerce

4301 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27699-4301
(919) 715-6556
Mobile Phone
(919) 218-0542
(919) 733-9299

South Carolina

Mr. Clarke Thompson
International Trade Director
South Carolina Department of Commerce

1201 Main Street, Capitol Center Tower
Suite 1600
Columbia, SC 29201-3200
(803) 737-0438
Mobile Phone
(803) 413-6792
(803) 737-0538


Ms. Leslee T. Alexander
International Director
Tennessee Department of Economic Community Development

Tennessee Tower, 27th Floor
312 Rosa L. Parks Ave.
Nashville, TN 37243
Mobile Phone
(615) 483-7293

Online Tennessee delegate registration and information may be found at SEUSTN.eventbrite.com or call the Japan America Society of Tennessee at 615-663-6060


Japan - U.S. Southeast Association

c/o Toshiba 1-1, Shibaura 1-Chome, Minato-ku,
Tokyo, 105-8001, Japan

Program / Agenda

Delegates may pick up registration packets from Saturday, November 14th at 3:00 p.m. through Monday, November 16th 5:00 p.m. in the Birmingham Ballroom Registration Office, Lobby Level, Sheraton Hotel.

* All participants are required to register.
** All events Business Attire unless otherwise noted

Saturday, November 14, 2015

3:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Registration – Birmingham Ballroom Registration Office, Lobby Level, Sheraton Hotel
6:00 pm
Chairman’s Dinner – The Club (by special invitation only)

Sunday, November 15, 2015

7:00 am – 3:00 pm
Invitational Golf Tournament (special invitation and additional fees apply)
Location: Shoal Creek Golf and Country Club
9:00 am – 3:00 pm
Tours Depart Sheraton Hotel Lobby
  1. Tour 1: “Sights & Sounds of Birmingham” Proposed highlights: A ride to the top of the world’s largest cast iron statue, Vulcan, and visit to the Vulcan Park & Museum; along with a guided tour of the Alabama Theater – home of the “Mighty Wurlitzer,” then off to the historical Sloss Furnaces. Lunch is included on the tour.
  2. Tour 2: “BBQ & Brews” Proposed highlights: Take a journey of Southern BBQ and locally brewed beer with stops at Good People Brewery, Dreamland BBQ, Avondale Brewery, Saw’s BBQ, Trim Tab Brewery and Jim ‘n’ Nicks. Menu will not be repeated and portions will be small so that participants can truly enjoy the local food and beverages.
9:00 am – 6:00 pm
Registration – Birmingham Ballroom Registration Office, Lobby Level, Sheraton Hotel
4:30 pm – 5:45 pm
State Delegation Meetings – States to confirm time and locations
Alabama Host State Reception
Location: Alabama Sports Hall of Fame
6:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Welcome Reception and Gala Opening Dinner
Sheraton Birmingham Pre-function Area and Ballroom
Business Casual Attire

Monday, November 16, 2015

* All events are business attire except for Spouse/Guest Tour

7:30 am – 8:45 am
Joint Networking Buffet Breakfast - All Delegates location TBC, Sheraton Hotel
7:45 am – 8:45 am
VIP Breakfast (by special invitation only)
9:00 am – 3:00 pm
Spouse/Guest’s Tour
The Old & New South
Proposed highlights: Capturing the spirit of the Old and New South, participants will step back into time at the Arlington House, a fine example of Greek Revival architecture, then off to the Birmingham Botanical Gardens to include a stop at the 16th-century Sukiya-style tea house built by Mr. Kazunori Tago. A catered lunch will be followed by an interactive cooking experience.
9:00 am – 9:30 am
Opening Ceremony
Location: Alabama Theatre
Explanation of Simultaneous Interpretation Equipment
Presentation of the Official Party/Playing of National Anthems

Welcome Remarks: Mr. Grayson Hall Chairman, Southeast U.S./Japan Association; Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Regions Financial Corporation

Opening Remarks: Chairman, Japan – U.S. Southeast Association
9:30 am – 10:15 am
Plenary Keynote Address
Location: Alabama Theatre
Featuring Address by Dr. Condoleezza Rice, former U.S. Secretary of State
10:15 am – 11:30 am
Opening Remarks by Delegation Leaders
Town Hall Questions and Answer Session with Head of Delegations
11:35 am – 11:40 am
Remarks from Consul General Kazuo Sunaga (Atlanta)
12:15 pm – 1:45 pm
Luncheon and Special Keynote Address
Location: Birmingham Ballroom, Sheraton Hotel
Featuring Address by: His Excellency Kenichiro Sasae, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan to the United States of America (invited)
2:00 pm – 3:15 pm
Executive Leadership Exchange I: (Featured Speakers/Moderated Panel Discussions)

Innovation Spurs Economic Growth
Innovation continues to boost Japan and the U.S. to global leadership positions and, more importantly, the ability to remain competitive and drive growth that leads to sustainable development for our common future. As the resurgence in manufacturing continues to trend upward, what are the implications and opportunities for workforce strategies, long-term production, intellectual property and R&D? This panel will address how Japan and the Southeastern United States are striving to out-innovate our competitors and increase our world-leading productivity.

3:15 pm – 3:30 pm
Location: Pre-function Area, Birmingham Ballroom, Sheraton Hotel
3:30 pm – 4:45 pm
Executive Leadership Exchange II: (Featured Speakers/Moderated Panel Discussions)

Protecting Your Profits in the New Energy/Environmental Era
Rising energy demand and a changing climate affects both the Southeast United States and Japan. The decisions we make today on how we produce, consume and distribute energy will influence our ability to respond effectively to climate change and sustain the environment. Addressing these challenges is beyond the reach of governments alone. It will take an active engagement of all sectors of society: the private sector; local communities; international organizations and the world of academia and research. This exchange will provide insights into how both Japan and the Southeastern U.S. states are developing innovative methods and encouraging greater cooperation between government and industry to sustain the environment.

6:45 pm – 9:00 pm
Evening Reception/Dinner and Networking Event
Location: Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

8:00 am
Joint Delegation Seated Breakfast
Location: Birmingham Ballroom
9:15 am
Breakfast and Special Keynote Address
Featuring Address by: The Honorable Andrew Young, Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations
9:45 am
Adoption of Joint Statement and Closing Ceremony


  • The Honorable Masami Kinefuchi, Consul General, Consulate-General of Japan in Nashville
  • The Honorable Shinji Nagashima, Consul General Consulate-General of Japan in Miami

Closing Remarks

  • Chairman, Japan-U.S. Southeast Association
  • Mr. Grayson Hall Chairman, Southeast U.S./Japan Association; Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Regions Financial Corporation

Exchange of Gifts – Chairman Hall
Announcement of 39th Annual Joint Meeting
***Meeting Adjourns***


Contact Information

Sheraton Birmingham Hotel

2101 Richard Arrington Jr. Blvd. North
Birmingham, AL 35203
(205) 324-5000

Room rates:


Room rates are subject to applicable tax that is currently 17.5% per room, per night and is subject to change without notice. Hotel check-in begins at 4 p.m.


Reserve Online
Sheraton Birmingham Hotel
Reserve By Phone
(205) 324-5000

For questions regarding hotel reservations and information, please contact Sheraton Birmingham Hotel.

If you make your hotel reservation by phone, please mention the “SEUS Japan Conference” to receive the special conference room rate.

Tours and Venue Information

Sheraton Birmingham Hotel Hotel

The Sheraton is located in the heart of Birmingham's Uptown Entertainment District at the BJCC. Within walking distance of the Birmingham Museum of Art, the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, and Regions Field, home of the Birmingham Barons, Sheraton Birmingham is accessible to all major highways, and only a 10-minute drive from Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport. Chosen by Fodor's as a “Top Place to Visit,” stay at Sheraton Birmingham and experience all that the Magic City has to offer.

Visit Sheraton Birmingham Website

Barber Motorsports Museum

Home to the world’s best motorcycle collection, the museum now has more than 1200 vintage and modern motorcycles and racecars, as well as the largest collection of Lotus cars, and other significant makes. The collection is the largest of its kind in the world. Approximately 600 of the 1200 motorcycles in the collection are on display at any given time. These bikes range from 1902 to current-year production. Common street bikes are represented, as well as rare Gran Prix race machinery. The museum is adjacent to Barber Motorsports Park, a world-class 2.3-mile road course and home to the Honda Grand Prix of Alabama.

Visit Barber Motorsports Museum Website

About Alabama

Beauty, history and adventure all come together in Alabama, a state rich in everything from world-class golf to white-sand beaches. It’s a place where each meal is a celebration, each town has a story and each day brings new discoveries you’ll always remember.