|Consul General's News Letter From Houston|
Consul General's Remarks at the Welcome Reception
by the Japan America Society of Dallas/ Fort Worth
at Haynes and Boone, LLP
Thank you, Mr. Stich for your kind words, and Mr. Tan from Haynes & Boone for providing us with such an excellent venue for us today. I also send my best regards to Mr. Terry Conner.
Ladies and gentlemen,
I thank Madam Anna McFarland and other core members of the Japan-America Society of Dallas and Fort Worth to arrange this occasion. It is my great honor to join you, introducing myself. I still have only four weeks in Texas, which is well enough to understand hospitality and joyfulness of Texans. Texas is the state which gives us reassurance and well-grounded optimism.
I wish I could have congratulated Texas Rangers for the World Championship. Anyway, all of us surely enjoyed and shared excitement. The League’s championship as such should certainly deserve our applause and let us be optimistic towards the next season. Texas is the state of well-grounded optimism.
The Japan-America Society of Dallas and Fort Worth has long enjoyed its reputation and my country has long enjoyed the privilege to rely upon and benefit from the Society. It is now getting into the 41st year, the 1st year of the 3rd generation, the 1st year of the 5th decade.
Through the Society, so many people have devoted efforts to strengthen the Japan-American ties. I admire all the glorious records. My particular thanks and commendation will go to the Honorable John M. Stich, who received the Bridges-to-Friendship Award this year for his tireless efforts to enhance the cause of the Society. I myself am much owing to him. Without his active and considerate arrangement, I could not have made this visit in my first weeks. I am so lucky.
Today, I met with the Honorable Betsy Price, Mayor of Fort Worth. We both appreciated the friendship between Fort Worth and Japan. Fort Worth has a sister city in Japan, Nagaoka-City. Every year, more than 200 youth and adults are exchanging between the two cities for sports, culture and education.
You have a beautiful Botanic Garden in Fort Worth which accommodates the Japanese Garden as well. That was designed by a gardener from Nagaoka-City. Next year will mark the 25th anniversary of relationship between Fort Worth and Nagaoka, which calls for our particular attention.
Indeed, Next year will coincide with another anniversary. In 1912, 100 years back from the next year, the first trees of cherry blossom were planted in the United States as the gift from Japan. We now plan to commemorate it with planting more baby or young trees of cherry blossoms somewhere in the States next year. Don’t you think that The Fort Worth Botanic Garden should be included in such places for new cherry blossoms? I am sure you do and I will try my best for that.
I have more words on 2012. This city of Dallas has its sister city in Japan, too, which is Sendai-City. Their relationship will also see the 15th anniversary. In fact, my office will be quite busy next year. For Fort Worth-Nagaoka, the 25th anniversary, for Dallas-Sendai, the 15th anniversary. Houston-Chiba will see the 40th, San Antonio-Kumamoto the 25th, Southlake-Tome will celebrate the 5th anniversaries. 2012 will be the year of fusion for Texas and Japan.
Thus, as inspired by the keyword “fusion”, there may be a lot of exciting events next year. Even today, I can refer to one representative event which now gets into preparation process.
In August next year, there will be held the “America-Japan Grassroots Summit” here in North Texas. The idea is for the people of the two countries from aged to children to get together, stay together and enjoy together. The Honorable John Stich, Madame Ann McFarland and the Japan-America Society have kindly assumed the central role in organizing it. I like to ask all of you for your precious help and support which is essential for the success of the program.
My last but not the least point is the earthquake and tsunami affecting the people in Japan. It was the tragedy. Still many places are left deserted with 73,000 people being evacuated. But I am pleased to report to you that my country steadily gets back to normalcy, as people have worked so hard towards rehabilitation and then reconstruction. That can be done because we Japanese people have witnessed, appreciated, received and been encouraged by enormous, actually enourmous help and message of support extended by many people in many countries.
To you, to the Society, to the cities of Dallas and Fort Worth, all the Texans and the individuals, entities, organizations, schools and corporations in Texas, I like to convey the most sincere gratitude from the affected people in Japan. We are stepping forward.
The sister city of Dallas, Sendai-City is one of the most damaged areas. The Japan-America Society of Dallas and Fort Worth engaged in fundraising for the Sendai Relief Fund and many people in the area joined forces. Ms. Emiko Okuyama, Mayor of Sendai-City has handed me her letter of thanks, which I will pass to the Honorable Mike Rawlings, Mayor of Dallas tomorrow. Her message of thanks on behalf of the people of Sendai goes to all of you as well. Always thanking your support and bearing in mind your reassuring solidarity, they are moving forward.
Thank you so much for giving me the precious chance to pay tribute to you. I promise to work with you to consolidate the human bonds among us. I hope that Uehara and Tateyama, excellent Japanese pitchers will continue to play for Rangers next season and contribute to the taking back of the champion flag.