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2023 Annual Conference

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Please join us!!


     The conference will be from 4:00 pm to 6:30 pm on March 23, and will be followed by a members only reception from 6:30  to  8:00 pm. If you are not a member but would like to join us at the reception, please go to to register as a member for as little as $30. Advanced registration is required.  Please register no later than Wednesday, March 15. 

Conference Overview

     Mobility, i.e., the way with which people and goods move from point A to point B, is about to undergo a dazzling transformation. It is not just about electric cars or autonomous automobiles.  

It is about a slew of glittering innovations that will transform the entire transport sector. Our mode of transportation – be it automobiles, agriculture or construction equipment, aviation, shipping or rail – will be safer, faster, more accessible, and free of carbon emission. 


     North Carolina has a lot to offer to take part in this transformation. Toyota is joining in the State’s already strong automotive sector, with its $3.6 billion battery plant. “Green materials” can be produced from North Carolina’s rich forest and other natural resources, and replace steel and aluminum, or even lithium batteries. Offshore Wind power, which the State has embarked on, can provide energy for production of hydrogen at competitive costs. Importantly, the Research Triangle boasts world-class research capabilities. 


     For this year’s Annual Conference, the Japan America Society of North Carolina (JASNC) has put together a panel of distinguished experts to discuss “the future of the automotive industry and opportunities for North Carolina.” The panel discussion will focus on issues directly relevant to North Carolina. It will highlight areas where partnership between American and Japanese companies may make sense as the future of the industry takes shape. 


     Mr. Bernard Swiecki will kick off the panel discussion with an overview of the visions of future automobiles in the next few decades. The overview will highlight key trends in the automotive industry, i.e., electrification, autonomous driving, diverse mobility, and connectivity.


     Mr. Sean Suggs will follow with a presentation on Toyota’s overall strategy for Toyota Battery Manufacturing North Carolina (TBMNC), a $3.6 billion battery plant. Mr. Suggs will provide an update on construction and touch on opportunities Toyota may offer to North Carolina. 


     The third panelist, Prof. Stephen Kelley, will discuss ongoing research to develop materials from forest and other non-mineral resources. Nature based resources can replace steel, aluminums and plastics, and help make vehicles lighter, more resilient, and carbon neutral. 


     Dr. Masaru Yoshitake, the last panelist, will review the recent advance in hydrogen technology in Japan in the context of the global shift toward carbon neutrality. He will then explore NC - Japan collaboration in hydrogen technology for the future mobility and other energy systems. 


     Mr. Christopher Chung will wrap up the panel with a highlight of new investor interest in partnership for innovation and workforce/talent in NC. He will conclude with a brief discussion of potentials for the NC-Japan partnership in the automotive sector.


Open discussion among all conference participants will conclude the conference. 


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