Consulate-General of Japan in Houston


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Remarks by Consul-General Nozomu Takaoka
attended the inaugural ceremony
for the United Airlines' 2nd daily nonstop flight
from Houston to Tokyo on March 30, 2014

March 30, 2014

Good morning, ladies and gentlemen, Honorable guests.

Let me to extend my sincere congratulations to United Airlines on the commencement of a second direct daily flight between Houston and Tokyo here today. I applaud Ms. Stephanie Buchanan, Vice President of the Houston Hub of United Airlines, and her team for making this historic event possible.

As I was kindly introduced by the Vice President, my name is Nozomu Takaoka and I have only been in Houston as the new Japanese Consul General for five months.  However, during this brief time I have been able to see growing and flourishing bilateral exchanges between Japan and Houston and indeed between Japan and Texas, which have been strongly bolstered by United Airlines’ initiatives and commitment to make Houston a strong port for Asia with Tokyo at the other end of the line.

The demand for flights between Houston and Tokyo has grown by 10 % in the past year.  I have heard many positive and happy comments from the Japanese community in Houston about this, including a happy secretary who can now have an easier time in making last minute bookings for her boss.  As the number of flights will be doubled, she will have a happy boss who can start working in Tokyo immediately after the plane arrives at Narita at 12:35pm.  In addition, when departing from Tokyo, this same boss can continue to work in Japan until the very last moment before the plane departs Narita at 6:55pm.  Therefore, we can say that enhanced business productivity and a little tired Japanese business person are warmly supported by United Airlines.
But what I was more interested in is the United Airlines strategy of catering to travelers from Houston through Tokyo to other Asian countries and beyond.  By arriving in Tokyo around noon, those travelers have enough time to make different connecting flights to get to their final destination elsewhere in Asia.  This further promotes Tokyo’s legacy as the gateway to Asia.

By the same token, Houston is the premier gateway to Latin American countries. This new Houston-Narita flight is timed to provide smoother connections between Japan and Sao Paolo, Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires and Bogota. Therefore, United Airlines is doing an excellent job at accentuating Houston’s international momentum.

In conclusion, I offer my many congratulations once again to the historic achievement by United Airlines, and wish for the further strengthened exchanges and bond between Japan and Houston, Japan and Texas, and a safe journey for our proud passengers who will be on board the first fight to Tokyo this morning.  Thank you for your attention and have an excellent Sunday.