Consulate-General of Japan in Houston


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November 12, 2013

The Honorable J. Thomas Schieffer, Former U.S. Ambassador to Japan & The Honorable Minoru Makihara, Mitsubishi Corporation Senior Corporate Advisor: Special Guests at the Japan-America Society’s Gala Celebrating its 45th Anniversary (November 2, 2013)

On November 2nd, the Japan-America Society of Houston hosted a gala marking the society’s 45th anniversary and welcoming two special guests: The Honorable J. Thomas Schieffer, former U.S. ambassador to Japan and The Honorable Minoru Makihara, Mitsubishi Corporation Senior Corporate Advisor.  The hall at the Omni Hotel was filled to capacity with about 400 guests, all leaders in the community working towards the promotion of Japan-U.S. relations.  Ambassador Schieffer recognized society achievements while appealing to all present to continue their work to ensure the strong friendship between the U.S. and Japan into the future.  Mitsubishi Senior Corporate Advisor, Mr. Makihara, described the recovery, the state of the Japanese economy, and “Abenomics,” while using his own personal experience studying abroad in the United States as an example to demonstrate the importance of bilateral relations. 

Please see below Consul-General of Japan Nozomu Takaoka’s opening remarks that he gave before Ambassador Schieffer and Mr. Makihara spoke. 

Also find attached the Embassy of Japan press release detailing the November 3rd announcement of Ambassador Schieffer’s conferral of the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun by the Emperor of Japan.


Thank you, Mrs. Fryer, for your kind introduction.  Good evening honorable guests, ladies and gentlemen: It is a great pleasure and honor to be here with you on this special occasion for the Japan-America Society of Houston.

It is less than one month since I arrived in Houston as Consul-General of Japan but I am already deeply impressed by the tremendous contributions and achievements of the society in promoting Japanese culture here and in strengthening the friendship between our two nations. 

In this first month I have also witnessed the economic dynamism of this city.  As Houston rises to the center of economic growth in the United States, business opportunities for Japanese companies will increase and economic ties between Japan and the U.S. will expand. 

This summer, Chubu Electric Co. opened a local branch office and this month Osaka Gas will open theirs in Houston.  It is certain more Japanese companies will follow suit. 

Another indicator is the number of 1st to 9th graders attending the Houston Japanese Supplementary School.  In 2009 it was 229.  After four years that figure stands at 303 and if you multiply this number by ten that should be on average the number of Japanese businessmen and their family members living in our community.  So they are increasing too. 

With new growth in the business sector, an increase in culture and arts exchange is sure to follow.  This trend provides the Japan-America Society of Houston the opportunity to build upon the present success and create more engaging programming so as to enhance its position even more in our community.  I hope that we can work together to this end and I seek your Japanese and American support in our mutual goal to promote our bilateral exchange.

With this goal in focus, the presence of The Honorable J. Thomas Schieffer and The Honorable Minoru Makihara at tonight’s gala can be taken as a great sign for the Japan-America Society of Houston.  Let us wish for the continued success and good health for these two leaders who guide and inspire us tonight to continue in our efforts to strengthen the Japan-U.S. relations and friendship.  Thank you very much.


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