Wendy's Japan CEO Discusses the Chain's Successful Reintroduction to the Japanese Market

Reviving Wendy's: Ernest Higa on Entrepreneurship in Japan

Wednesday, October 3, 2012, Noon, at Japan Society

New York, NY -- Two years after withdrawing from the Japanese market, Wendy's made an exciting comeback to Japan in 2011 with a new partner and strategy. In addition to their signature items, Wendy's introduced "Japan Premium" products, only available in Japan, and moved into the gourmet burger realm.

In Reviving Wendy's: Ernest Higa on Entrepreneurship in Japan, Wendy’s Japan CEO Ernest Higa speaks on his experience as an American entrepreneur doing business in Japan; adapting American products and concepts, including Domino's Pizza and Wendy's, for the Japanese market; and his views on the future of entrepreneurship in Japan. Presided by ITO EN U.S. CEO Yosuke Honjo, the talk takes place Wednesday, October 3, at Japan Society.

Agenda: Noon, registration & reception; 12:30, luncheon; 1:00-2:00, lecture and Q&A.

Admission: $65 lunch and lecture/$15 lecture only. Japan Society Corporate Members are entitled to a designated number of FREE admissions based on their company's membership level. Discounted rates are available for additional Japan Society Corporate Members, certain individual members, government officials and academics. To register or for more information, please email, visit, or call 212-715-1208.

Ernest Matsuo Higa is the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Higa Industries Co., Ltd., Higa Investments Co. Ltd. and Wendy's Japan LLC.  He is a Board member of JC Comsa, Chief Executive Organization, New Business Conference, US Japan Council, Keizai Doyukai, and Nippon President's Organization, and the Columbia Business School Board of Overseers.  He served on the Boards of Young President's Organization, Jermyn Street Capital Ltd., Japan Telecom, and Ripplewood Holdings Japan Board of Advisors.  He is a member of the Trilateral Commission and was a visiting professor of Nihon University Business School. In 1985, Higa obtained the exclusive license from Domino's Pizza and created a whole new home delivery pizza industry in Japan for which he was named in 1990 "Entrepreneur of the Year" by the New Business Conference (a Japanese semi-government organization). Higa was subsequently awarded by the Ministry of Agriculture for "innovation in the food industry" in 1998 and recognized by Toyo Keizai as one of the top 50 entrepreneurs in Japan that same year.

With more than 25 years of experience in food and beverage industry management, Yosuke Honjo serves as CEO of ITO EN US Group, which has seven companies and over 300 employees in the U.S. The Tokyo-based parent company, ITO EN, LTD Japan, has annual sales $4.7 billion. Honjo serves on the Board of Directors for JCCI (Japan Chamber of Commerce Industry), Japan Day @ Central Park, New York’s Nippon Club, and Japan Society.

Founded in 1907, Japan Society is a world-class, multidisciplinary hub for global leaders, artists, scholars, educators, and English and Japanese-speaking audiences. At the Society, more than 100 events each year feature sophisticated, topically relevant presentations of Japanese art and culture and open, critical dialogue on issues of vital importance to the U.S., Japan and East Asia. An American nonprofit, nonpolitical organization, the Society cultivates a constructive, resonant and dynamic relationship between the people of the U.S. and Japan.

Japan Society is located at 333 East 47th Street between First and Second avenues (accessible by the 4/5/6 at 42nd Street-Grand Central Station or the E and V at Lexington Avenue and 53rd St.) For further information call 212-832-1155 or visit

This event is presented with support from Citi, Deloitte, Mizuho Financial Group, United Airlines, and WL Ross & Co. LLC.

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Media Contacts:

Shannon Jowett, 212-715-1205,

Kuniko Shiobara, 212-715-1249,





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