Consulate-General of Japan in Houston



March 9, 2013

Remarks by Deputy Consul-General Takahiko Watabe at Texas State Japanese Language Speech Contest Reception at Rice University’s Herring Hall on March 9, 2013

Ladies and gentlemen, judges and participants: welcome and thank you for your presence this evening.

On behalf of the Consulate-General of Japan, I would like to congratulate all the participants for their efforts today.  I sincerely hope that this contest has provided you the opportunity to reaffirm the progress you have already made and given you the motivation to continue in your studies of Japanese language and Japanese culture.  It is for this reason that we hold the contest and it is for this reason that so many local organizations and individuals support both the regional competitions and the Texas State Contest each year.

I would now like to thank Dr. Toshimatsu Matsumoto, Chair of the Contest, who started the Texas State Japanese Language Speech Contest 24 years ago and has been playing a critical role in promoting Japanese language education in Texas. My thanks also goes to the teachers of the Japanese Teachers Association of Texas led by President Yayoi Takeuchi. Special thanks to Professor Hiroko Sato and Mrs. Kazuko Sanada for their leadership on the Speech Contest Steering Committee.

Thanks to the tireless effort of the teachers, I am pleased to see many active Japanese programs in Texas. Also, the winners of the Texas State-Wide Contest placed first in the National Speech Contest for the past two consecutive years, which shows the quality of Japanese language education in Texas. Having said so, we understand that the situation surrounding Japanese language education, especially funding, can prove to be a challenge. We would like to work with JTAT to continue to support Japanese language education in Texas and encourage other Japan related organizations to join us in advocating for Japanese language education. We will provide whatever support we can to broaden the basis for sustaining the precious activities of JTAT.  
We are now approaching the second anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake on March 11, 2011. The people of Japan have made the best effort to identify the needs of the disaster-affected areas and to take concrete steps to meet their needs. We will, at the same time, contribute to the international community by sharing knowledge and lessons learned from the earthquake and the subsequent recovery process.

This contest would not have been possible without the support of many. I would like to recognize President JJ Naoki, and the Japan-America Society of Houston for taking leadership and hosting the State Contest again this year. 

Many thanks to the Japanese Association of Greater Houston, The Japanese Business Association of Houston, and the Japanese Teachers Association of Texas for your vital roles. The continued support from the Japan Foundation, JTB USA, Inc, Mr. Glen Gondo, Mrs. LaVerl Daily is deeply appreciated and is a big encouragement for the students.

Thank you very much.

Back to Index Page