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Over 200 people attended the Annual Fall Banquet of the Japan America Society of Colorado, which was held Thursday, Nov. 29 at the Four Seasons Hotel Denver. The banquet is JASC’s main fundraiser for the year, and it helps fund events like the annual Japan Cup competition for Japanese-speaking high school and college students.

Among the guests were Consul general Ikuhiko Ono and his wife Eiko, Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock, Denver Post editor Greg Moore, and many distinguished leaders from Denver’s Japanese and Japanese American communities, as well as representatives of a number of Japanese companies who have offices in Colorado.

Mayor Hancock was one of the prime drivers of the new direct flight on United’s 787 Dreamliner jet, which will begin between Denver and Tokyo’s Narita Airport on March 31, 2013. The Mayor spoke about the ties between Japan and Colorado, and how the new flight will lead to more opportunities.

Other speakers included T.R. Reid, former Washington Bureau Chief for the Washington Post and current President of the Japan America Society of Colorado. Reid gave the keynote speech at the banquet, about the history of friendship between Japan and Colorado (focusing on Gov. Ralph Carr’s support of Japanese Americans during WWII).

United Airlines Vice President Jim Mueller also spoke, about how the new direct flight will open new paths for travelers and business in the Midwest as well as Colorado to Japan and on to other destinations in Asia.

The Japan America Society will host panel discussion on January 8, 2013 that will feature the U.S. Ambassador to Japan. With underwriting from a grant from the Sasakawa Peace Foundation, JASC spotlights the theme of Colorado-Japan economic development and “Why Japan Matters in 2013.”

Ambassador John V. Roos from the U.S. Embassy in Japan will be the Keynote Speaker. Peter Kelley, President of the National Association of Japan America Societies in Washington D.C. is also scheduled to attend.

The ambassador is expected to speak to the theme of “Strong Suites & New Ties – Commercial Synergies and Expended Air Links Bind U.S. & Japan” with a focus on renewable energy, education, tourism and investment.

The event will be part of a luncheon at the Brown Palace Hotel in Denver on Thursday, Jan. 8 at 11:30 a.m. Visit www.jascolorado.org for more information.