|Consul General's News Letter From Houston|
Remarks by Consul-General Jota Yamamoto
to Welcome a Visit of Chiba-Based Company
and to Kick Off 2012 Japan-Houston Business Cooperation, as delivered in January, 2012
It is my pleasure to see you get back to my residence and exchange congratulations for the safe and happy New Year. This year 2012 will be a fabulous year for “Japan-Houston”.
Last year, many Houstonians extended an enormous support to the people in Japan, who suffered from the earthquake / tsunami. My country has steadily got back to normalcy and now is the time for Japan to demonstrate and substantiate its thanks and appreciation to the people in Houston.
On the cultural front, for instance, we will have a lot. In mid-February, the Museum of Fine Arts Houston will open a long-awaited Japan Gallery. On March 31st, Japan-Festival will be held in the Harmann Park, expecting a more than 25,000 turnout.
Though cultural exchange may be exciting, it is only a part of the broad picture.
My standing agenda is, indeed, how to identify the value of business partnership between Houston and Japan. Since we have many events with the public this year, I also like to find out some attractive wording and vocabulary to describe the reality and potentials of our business partnership; whereby I can call for more attention from the public both in Texas and in Japan.
The idea for this evening is to kick off the 2012 version of business ties between the people in charge of the Japanese business here in Houston and the people taking care of those people. I thank you all for your attendance, representing many organizations in this connection, JBAH, JETRO and other Japanese business circle, and protocol & international affairs offices in the City of Houston, Houston Technology Center & Greater Houston Partnership.
The Japanese community in Houston is not so large in size. There are only 2400 Japanese nationals staying here. Yet they are quite enormous in their capabilities, trust from Houston and benefits to Houston. The 45 years old Japan Business Association of Houston, JBAH, has 85 members covering big names.
For the past few years, my Government has attached more importance for public-private collaboration to sustain Japanese business activities not only in developing countries but also in the most advanced economic regions. This recent policy may have a good impact upon the Japanese business in Texas as well, for energy sectors, heavy manufacturing and perhaps advanced transportation. Thus my colleagues from the Japan External Trade Organization, JETRO, are enjoying quite hectic days nowadays.
Business environment in Texas has reassured us. Figures are speaking themselves and, to my appreciation, communal and political support is obvious. On that point, State Secretary the Honorable Hope Andrade and City Mayor the Honorable Annise Parker were quite clear & encouraging in their words to me.
I have not yet personally met with the Honorable Rick Perry, for he still seems to be very busy outside Austin, but I am sure that the same is his conviction. We will never forget what he stated so eloquently to protect the dignity of Toyota in 2010 when the company got involved in some unfortunate case.
It is a lucky coincidence that 2012 marks the 40th anniversary of the sister-city relationship between Houston and Chiba-City. Business ties of the two cities will be moving forward with this momentum.
In this connection, it is my particular pleasure to introduce Mr. Yoshi Yamazaki, CEO of the IT-related trading company, “iGlobal”, which is based in Chiba-City. His presence symbolizes the renewed commitment of many people to the Japan-Houston business relationship and gives it a new identity fitting to the year 2012.
I will pass the floor to Yoshi Yamazaki, I hope he will nicely kick this off and give us a further momentum towards the common objective to identify and promote mutual business interests.