Consulate-General of Japan in Houston


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Consul General's News Letter From Houston

Remarks by Consul-General Jota Yamamoto
at the Opening Ceremony of the 22nd Japan-America Grassroots Summit in North Texas
on August 29, 2012

August 29, 2012

I thank Ms. Sylvia Komatsu for her help.  I congratulate Mr. Don Casey for assuming the presidency of Japan-America Society of Dallas/Fort Worth (JASDFW).  I believe that the Society will further expand its activities under your leadership.  Today’s opening of the Grassroots Summit is iconic. 

I pay tribute to Ambassador Thomas Schieffer, Summit Chairman, and Ambassador Taizo Watanabe who both made this Summit possible.  We are honored to have the top of the NAAJS & NAJAS with us today.  I would like to thank Ambassador & Madame Okawara, Mr. Takashi Watanabe, Mr. William Farrell, and Mr. Peter Kelley.  I shall not forget to voice my words of thanks for Mr. John Stich & Ms. Anna McFarland of JASDFW, Mr. Kichisaburo Nomura, Mr. Toshiaki Taguchi & Ms. Hiroko Todoroki of John Manjiro Whitfield Commemorative Center for International Exchange (CIE), and Dr. Richard Wood of CIE-US.

Dear Guests & Colleagues from Japan,
Welcome to Texas.  Texas is the state of diversities.  Texas is very southern for its hospitality.  Texas is very western for its cowgirls, cowboys, longhorns & stockyards and this Billy Bob’s is the hall of fame to speak to the western spirit.  Not so many can enjoy Texas BBQ here, for this is a very popular place and full of reservations booked far in advance.  What is Texas BBQ by the way?  We also have something peculiar called TexMex.  By the end of the Summit, you have the knowledge to explain what they are.

As many as 15 cities will host you.  Arlington, Dallas, Denton, Fort Worth, Gainesville, Glen Rose, Irving, Mckinney, Muenster, Lindsay, Parker, Plano, Richardson, Southlake & Waxahachie.  Waxahachie is coined the Gingerbread City, and Glen Rose is called the Dinosaur Capital”.  I do not know the reason, but you have the knowledge to explain why, by the end of the Summit.

North Texas accommodates a variety of sports.  Some of you may have heard of the Dallas Cowboys.  All of you are familiar with the Texas Rangers.  Yes, the Rangers won the game 1-0 last evening with Yu Darvish as the winning pitcher.  Did you know that in 2010 the Rangers fought the World Series with the SF Giants?  San Francisco won the title and by the way that was the year that San Francisco hosted the 2010 Grassroots Summit.  This year, the Rangers have a good chance to come back to the World Series, and this year is the year that Texas hosts the Summit: can you see where I am going with this?  Cheers for the Rangers, cheers for Texas.

North Texas is a center of economic prosperity, which accommodates headquarters of many big names such as 7-Eleven, Exxon Mobil, and American Airlines.  There is the famous “Telecom Corridor” where AT&T, Texas Instruments, Fujitsu and NEC are nestled.  The Japanese community is actively engaged in the region.  We have 2252 Japanese, and 350 students attend the Japanese School of Dallas.  I would like to mention with appreciation that many of the Japanese are joining this Summit as volunteers.  A nice fusion of Japan-America can be seen in sponsorship, too.  I thank 7-Eleven, Fujitsu, Toyota, Sumitomo Corporation, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and many others.

Ladies & Gentlemen,
The Summit welcomes the delegations of students from the earthquake-stricken areas of Ishinomaki, Minamisanriku & Kesennuma, thanks to the Tomodachi Initiative for which I appreciate Mr. Tong of the US Embassy for his coordination, and also from Kamaishi.  My thanks also go to the US-Japan Council.  Senior Vice President Mr. Maniwa will kindly introduce these delegations.  They will see that so many people in Texas are resolute to stand with them.  The JAS/DFW has led the Sendai Relief Fund raising over $186,000, the Dallas Japanese Association raised $80,000.  The support network is still expanding, with ORIX, Gloops International, the Texas Rangers and many more joining us. 

The Summit will give us all the opportunity to renew our commitment to the afflicted people.  Their bravery in overcoming difficulty will surely be shown by the Kesennuma student delegation in its presentation today.  To cheer for the students, I would like to introduce some words by Admiral Walsh who commanded Operation Tomodachi and is from Dallas.  “As long as we make commitments to each other, and resolve to stand for each other, our friendship will endure, and the spirit embodied in that friendship will never wither and die.”  I believe that this represents the brightest aspect of Japan-US relations, which may be shared by Dr. Matthew C. Perry,  Ms. Aya Nakahama & Mr. Robert Whitfield and all the people here today.  It is the very reason why we gather here today, why we can gather here today.

Mayor of Fort Worth Honorable Betsy Price,
I first met with you last November and asked for your cooperation with the Summit.  It is our privilege to have you here today, representing the host cities in North Texas.  Your favorable consideration has made it possible to open the Summit.  Your reassuring cooperation will surely make possible the success of the Summit.  I would herewith like to ask Mayor Price, the Honorable Mayors and all the people of the host cities, to take care of these Japanese youth, as they will surely be the courageous navigators for the Japan-US friendship of tomorrow.