Consulate-General of Japan in Houston


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Consul-General's Remarks at the Ceremony
to Award the Japanese Foreign Minister's Commendation
to Dr, Larry Jones, Chair of the Stillwater Sister City Council, at the Oklahoma State University


I thank Dr. David Henneberry and the members of Oklahoma State University, in particular those of the Division of International Studies & Outreach, for hosting this commemorative occasion.  My thanks also go to the Honorable Lloyd Hardin, Honorary Consul-General of Japan, for helping us make it possible.

The Honorable Nathan Bates, Mayor of the City of Stillwater, the Honorable Wesley Watkins, former US Representative, the Honorable Lou Watkins, Board of Regents and the distinguished guests,

It is my honor to celebrate the conferral of the commendation from my Foreign Minister of Japan upon Dr. Larry D. Jones, and to renew our tribute and respect to him for his devotion towards the enhanced exchange between the Japanese and American people.

Dr. Larry Jones, as the Chair of the Stillwater Sister Cities Council, has actively promoted exchange between Stillwater and Kameoka, Japan, since 1989.  The sister-city relationship between the two cities marked its 25th anniversary in 2010, which opened another page of long standing friendship. 

Indeed, the contribution of Dr. Jones should be appreciated not only by Kameoka City but so many other cities which wish to honor friendship with other cities abroad.  Thus, Dr. Jones was awarded, for his active engagement in the Sister Cities International, as “Volunteer of the Year” as early as 2001.  His inspired Stillwater-Kameoka sister-city program received the “Best Overall” program award in 2007. Stillwater-Kameoka relationship has been the model for other cities, and this will surely continue to be the case. 

Dr. Larry Jones, you have achieved a lot for us.  Accept our appreciation.  Madame Kayo Jones, we are owing much to you as well, for without your support, even such mighty person like Dr. Jones could not have done all his achievements.  Madame Kayo Jones, accept our appreciation.

Dr. and Madame Jones,
Your orientation for sister-city relationship has been followed by many cities, many areas.  Thus we have Oklahoma and Kyoto Prefecture, Shawnee and Nikaho, Norman and Seika.  The sister-city relation between Tulsa and Utsunomiya will celebrate its 20th anniversary next year.  As is declared in the Proclamation of the State of Oklahoma of December 11, 2009, those relationships “have proven to be critical components and key participants in the diplomatic endeavors between the State of Oklahoma and Japan”. 

Such network of sister cities in Oklahoma has also helped a steadily enlarged engagement by the Japanese companies in Tulsa, Norman, Oklahoma City, Shawnee and Guyman.  A weekly column by Dr. Jones, titled “Kameoka Corner” in Stillwater News Press is read, appreciated and studied carefully by those who are now in Oklahoma and those who may wish to come to Oklahoma. The column has, by the way, been numbered over one thousand installments by now.  Beyond one thousand installments!

It is of particular pleasure to report to you, distinguished guests and Dr. and Madame Jones, that very recently, many college students from universities in Oklahoma joined the National Cultural Festival held in Kyoto, Japan.  With their performance, dances and music playing, they gave nice colors to the Festival and celebrated the long-standing sisterhood between the State of Oklahoma and Kyoto Prefecture.  Dr. Jones, you see that is surely a clear example.  Young generations have understood, appreciated and followed your orientation and spirits about the value and implications of sister-city relations.

Distinguished guests,
As the last but not the least point, I like to express my sympathy and convey the sense of solidarity with the people of Oklahoma.  You have witnessed a severe drought this year and, this month, the unusual earthquakes and storms have struck you. I am sure that you now join forces to overcome difficulties.  Whenever anything arises what we Japanese people can do, please let us know.  We, the Japanese people, will never forget the reassuring support extended by the people in Oklahoma when the earthquake and tsunami struck Japan.

Once again and on behalf of my Foreign Minister of Japan, I like to congratulate Dr. and Madame Larry Jones.  You really deserve applause from people in Kameoka, people in the Kyoto Prefecture and all the people in your beloved country Japan.  Congratulations.