Founded in 1932 by 14 prominent Japanese businessmen to facilitate trade between Japan and the U.S., JCCI’s mission has expanded throughout the years. It has been vital in creating connections and strengthening bonds between the Japanese and American communities in New York, through business, governmental, cultural and charitable endeavors. In 1939, the Chamber donated 150 Japanese cherry (sakura) trees to the city, presented by Japanese Ambassador Hiroshi Saito. That same year, JCCI supported the Japanese Pavilion at the New York World’s Fair, held at Flushing Meadows-Corona Park in Queens. The office closed in 1941 at the start of the WWII, but reopened in 1953. The Japanese corporate member roster grew from 52 in 1941 to 66 in 1955. From that time, JCCI assisted Japanese corporations in opening of New York branches—such as Toshiba in 1959—and facilitated the sales of Japanese products—such as Toyota automobiles in 1956 and Shiseido products in 1965. Functioning as a nonprofit, JCCI’s philanthropic endeavors gave opportunities to Japanese corporations to contribute to the greater New York community. They have established cross-cultural programs for educators and businesspeople, organized symposiums and webinars, and hosted luncheons to provide business and networking opportunities. In 1985, the JCCI Fund was established to build stronger bonds between the local Japanese business community and the greater New York community. A special fund was established to provide disaster relief to Japan in the aftermath of the Great East Japan Earthquake of March 11, 2011, and locally after Hurricane Sandy in 2012.