Consulate-General of Japan in Houston


About Us
Consul General's News Letter From Houston

Consul General's Remarks
at 2011 Japan Exchange and Teaching Program & Japan-U.S. Training Exchange Program Welcoming Luncheon
at Consul General Residence


Returnees and alumni of JET, the Japan Exchange and Teaching Program, Japanese participants in the first round of JUSTE, the Japan-US Training Exchange Program, Distinguished guests and colleagues,

It is my honor to welcome you all.  As the JET Program enters its 25th year, the alumni now total 26,000 in the States.  They can be found in many key roles in Texas and Oklahoma, too.  They can be found among today’s guests as well, all nurturing the Japan- US relations in governance, business, arts and academics.  It is all the more important to keep and enhance the network of the alumni; that is the engine to ensure the least fragile basis of Japan-US friendship. 

I pay tribute to Ms. Chieko Cristinziani and other core members of the Alumni Association, JETAA, and will appreciate a constant effort to expand members, strengthen organization and uphold the shared values of the program.  I also salute Dr. Matsumoto, Mr. Crowe and members of the Japan-American Society and other distinguished guests who have extended always reassuring support. 

I believe that Ms. Shree Kurlekar, President of the JETAA International, will benefit us a lot with her expertise and orientation.  She will kindly give us later a report of the recent meeting in Tokyo of JETAA International, which will facilitate identifying and understanding our challenges and common agenda.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Earthquake in March made 2011 the extraordinary year for Japan and for the JET Program.  Two of the JET participants were victimized in tsunami.  Despite this tragedy, many of the JET participants bravely engaged in activities in Japan to support the affected people, for they believe that this would be the wishes of Montgomery Dickson and Taylor Anderson.  Likewise, JETAAs in the States and International have extended their help, which is deeply appreciated by the people of Japan, both inside and outside the disaster-afflicted areas.
Having overcome a lot of difficulties and with some extraordinary experience, now we have this year’s returning JET Participants back to this region.  Susan Chiang, Jared Miracle, Rachael Monnin, Teal Rowe and Michelle Wigianto.  I believe that now you will help the JETAA pursue its objective and will tell us, with your personal interpretation on your first-hand experience in tough circumstances in Japan, the essence of and agenda for the people-to-people friendship. 

The JET Program has achieved a lot, thus, it is not surprising to see its spirit apply to a broader context. In November 2010, Prime Minister Kan and President Obama shared the view to create several thousand individual exchanges between the two countries within the next five years. The JUSTE, Japan-US Training Exchange Program has started this year as one of the first steps. 

I thank the Japanese Teachers Association of Texas for support and 14 selected teachers have spent six months studying ESL teaching methods at the University of Texas at Austin.  Mr. Asano, Ms. Amano, Ms. Ichimiya, Mr. Ushiki, Ms. Ogawa, Ms. Ogido, Ms. Kamada, Mr. Kamimura, Ms. Komatsuzaki, Mr. Saitoh, Mr. Takeo, Ms. Nakao, Ms. Matsumoto, and Mr. Yamaguchi.  As a lucky coincidence, I had a chance the day before yesterday to talk to Representative Mr. Kan, the very person who envisaged the program last year.  He was delighted to know that the program applies to Texas too and wished a good success to the participants.  

I spoke of the importance of networking JET alumni. The same may perhaps apply to the JUSTE Program.  Mr. Asano and distinguished teachers, your interpretation on the experience in Austin will certainly orient the future course of the program.  I believe that you will join forces to cherish and consolidate this new-born program and to work out relevant guidance to future participants. 

Now we have the two programs sharing the same objectives.    Now we have a busy schedule towards next year to celebrate so many “Japan-Americas”, both nationally and regionally.  I believe that the network of people will surely lead us to success and assure the Japan-US, Japan-Texas/Oklahoma friendship as ever.