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 reception to celebrate the birthday
of His Majesty the Emperor of Japan,
held on December 11, 2012, and his remarks
on the Foreign Minister’s commendation presented
to Mr. Joseph A. Hafner Jr.

December 11, 2012

It is my honor to welcome you all from various places in Texas & Oklahoma. Familiar faces just remind me of a number of sweet memories I have shared with you.  In Texas & Oklahoma, there is a truly reassuring human network.  I love it, I appreciate it, and I thank you.

I saw an elegant white eagle in my garden today.  A curious eagle visited the Hermann Park Japanese Garden as well, when we had a ceremony of the Japan-US cherry blossom centennial in October.  It is pleasing to know that American eagles too are quite interested in celebrating us.

His Majesty Emperor Akihito, the 125th Emperor to accede to the throne of Japan,  was born on December 23rd, 1933, and will turn 79 this month.  His Majesty the Emperor is the symbol of Japan and the unity of its people.  I am very privileged to celebrate together with you the birthday of the Emperor.

Thanks to your enormous support, Japan has steadily overcome a number of difficulties with the earthquake.  In Japan, we have revived normalcy.  Outside Japan, we have resolved to return the friendship that the world has shown us.  In Texas & Oklahoma, we have resolved to collaborate more with the local people to contribute more to the local values.

The human network made possible a lot of collaborations.  I do not have time to mention each of those, but it is clear that my office owes each success to each of you.  Face-to-face exchange is the basic tenet, and the success of the Japan-America Grassroots Summit in North Texas spoke volumes.  A series of successful celebrations of sister-city relationships & the cherry blossom centennial is another example.

Japan is proud to share the common values and working grounds with America.  Thus we are proud of the Japanese astronauts joining forces with the International Space Station.  As it is founded upon the broad & profound human network, the Japan-US alliance is unique and steadfast.  It is of vital importance to keep expanding this network to make more collaborations possible.

The Toyota Tundra is the evidence of applauded collaboration.  It is made in San Antonio, made by the people getting together in San Antonio, with 75% of its parts procured in North America and its V8 engine built in Alabama.  It is the Tundra that recently towed the Space Shuttle Endeavour, a symbol of American greatness.  What we can see outside is the same model.

The Bullet Train, as we call the “Shinkansen system”, is the topic of promising collaboration.  Its record for 48 years speaks volumes to safety, reliability and accuracy.  Judge Robert Eckles with his Texas Central Railway is now promoting the value of this cutting edge technology, which may realize a less than 90 minute connection between downtown North Texas & downtown Houston.  What we can see upstairs is its 1/20 big scale model.

Toshiba is not only creating 1,800 jobs in Houston but lime-lighting halls of fame of cultural diversities throughout North America with its value-engineered LEDs.  Its renowned expertise over 120 years continues to give us further light to the life.  The advanced luminaire for roadways, and dimmable LEDs for big indoor spaces are illuminating upstairs today.

Special acknowledgement and thanks go to Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Texas, Central Japan Railway, and Toshiba International Corporation, who generously arranged these exhibitions.  They represent the brightest of Japan’s technology or the system of operation.  I am very proud that they always try to apply this system to benefit the local people in the States, and to build upon collaborations with those people, as they cherish the value of human networks within the local communities.

Thus I believe in my favorite remarks by His Excellency, the Ambassador Thomas Schiffer: The people of America appreciate the Japanese, and the people of Japan love the Americans.  I thank you all for joining us today to celebrate the birthday of His Majesty the Emperor , and I wish you a very good evening.

(Commendation of H.E. Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba to Mr. Joseph Hafner )
I am honored to present the commendation of Foreign Minister of Japan to Mr. Joseph A. Hafner Jr.  In June of this year, Mr. Kunio Minami received the same commendation.  It is quite unusual to address this award twice at the same place in the same year, and I am all the more dignified.

As we all know, Mr. Hafner is a distinguished business giant and has actively engaged in social & cultural affairs as well.  His dedication to the flourishing Houston Ballet and the renowned Red Cross activities is just an example. 

To the fortune of the Japanese community, he has also extended his active attention to the Japan-US friendship.  His contribution to the Japan-America Society of Houston, the Hermann Park Japanese Garden, the Japan Festival and many more is obvious and most certainly deserves the Foreign Minister’s Commendation.  I congratulate Mr. Hafner, I thank Madam Hafner, and I would like to celebrate Mr. & Mrs. Hafner, together with all of us today.