Good Afternoon. I am Atsushi Yonezawa, Consul from the Consulate-General of Japan in Houston. It is my pleasure to speak to you on behalf of Consulate-General of Japan at the Japan Luncheon NAFSA 2012. I would like to extend our sincere gratitude to member universities and colleges of JAFSA, Japan Network for International Education who made this reception possible.
This event is a wonderful opportunity where hundreds of Japanese international education experts and their partners get together from various places of Japan, the United States and the world. Here, Houston, Texas is the most suitable venue for such a grand gathering as it is renowned for warm hospitality.
Texas is booming. We can see opportunity everywhere in the enormous State of Texas. With its rapid increase of population, abundant resources, and availability of advanced technologies, many business partnerships are created, attracting companies from around the world. Japanese companies are one of the most active partners among them. As many as 300 Japanese companies are making significant contributions to the economy and society of Texas using sophisticated technologies and strong local commitments. Today among us is Mr. Masazumi Miyake, Advisor to Japan Business Association of Houston. I believe Mr. Miyake will kindly share information about Japanese business activities expanding in this state.
What is the secret of such rapid development of Texas? I believe it to be the culture of Texas which values "Personal Independence" and a "Diverse Society.” And this is what Japanese universities and colleges are seeking in order to foster human resources that will become the next generation in Japan and elsewhere in the world. The trend of globalization is becoming more and more intense while Japan is facing a serious decline in birth rates. It is important to stimulate one’s society by accepting talented foreign students, researchers, and by accommodating diversified culture. It is also important to have young students participate in study abroad opportunities to encourage independent talent that can stand well in the international society.
We are working rigorously to foster the collaboration of industry, government and school. Our universities and colleges attach more importance to exchange with the foreign counterparts as you can see as many as 40 Japanese universities and colleges attending the NAFSA conference this year.
The Great East Japan Earthquake in March last year and its aftermath have sharpened Japan’s determination to secure revitalization and shared prosperity on a sound basis. Japan will share the knowledge and lessons learned from the Earthquake with the international community and advance the revival of the country while drawing on global opportunities. Japan is now open and safe for tourism, business and study. Please help to broaden and activate your exchange with Japanese universities and colleges so that more fruitful outcomes arise for our future generations.
This year also marks the 100 year anniversary of Japan’s cherry blossom being brought to the United States. I would like to propose a toast to wish that the flower of exchange between Japan and the US will further bloom brilliantly. Please raise a glass. Kanpai.
Thank you very much.
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