Consulate-General of Japan in Houston


About Us
Letters and Messages

Remarks by Consul-General Nozomu Takaoka
at JASH GALA on November 1, 2014

November 1, 2014

Thank you, Mrs. Fryer for your kind introduction, and good evening ladies and gentlemen.  My name is Nozomu Takaoka, the Consul-General of Japan in Houston.  It brings me great honor and pleasure to be with you all tonight to honor an organization which is pivotal in promoting Japan-Houston relations and with whom I have worked very closely this past year: The Japan-America Society of Houston.  This 2014 Gala marks the 46th anniversary of the establishment known as JASH. Congratulations!

I always applaud Houston for its warmth and strength, produced by a happy marriage of economic prosperity, cultural beauty and international diversity.  To add to this positive Houston process, JASH has contributed several exciting annual events such as Japan Fest, which welcomed 30,000 patrons in and around the Japanese Garden in Hermann Park this past April, as well as the Japanese Language Speech Competition, which is entering its 26th year. Both of these events reflect JASH’s long-term commitment to enriching Houston through U.S.-Japan cultural exchange.

More recently, JASH has taken on new responsibilities and challenges, and continues to grow, thanks in no small part to JASH President, Mr. J.J. Naoki, and Executive Director Ms. Patsy Brown.  I also extend my sincerest thanks to your dedicated team of board members and volunteers, and hope for further expansion of membership from Houston’s prosperous business world. 

Tonight we also commemorate 160 years of U.S.-Japan diplomatic relations. This alliance is especially strong in Houston, which has seen many new investments this year across several industries.  In the energy field we have welcomed new opportunities for Liquefied Natural Gas exports from the United States to Japan, and the introduction of Japanese technology in the fields of CO2 capturing, petrochemicals, and air conditioning.  Mayor Parker’s recent successful trip to Japan again strengthened the goodwill between Houston and Chiba, its sister city, and indeed the US and Japan.

In reflecting on this alliance tonight, I am very pleased to have Mr. A. R. Sanchez, Executive Chairman of the Board of Sanchez Oil & Gas Corporation, as tonight’s chairperson. Mr. Sanchez’s company has deep ties to both Houston and Japan and is a sure example of the success to be found in our continued partnership.

I am also very honored and happy to have the gracious presence of the Honorable Congressman Joaquin Castro joining us tonight from Washington, DC, in spite of his tight schedule before next Tuesday. Congressman Castro, as co-chair of the very important First Bipartisan US-Japan Congressional Caucus, represents the great American leader’s investment in the continued success of the US-Japan partnership.

Therefore, I can conclude that the presence of Mr. Sanchez and Congressman Castro here tonight is a positive sign for the Japan-America Society of Houston and the continuance of their mission to connect people and cultures and cultivate goodwill. Thank you.