Consulate-General of Japan in Houston


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Remarks by Consul-General Nozomu Takaoka
at JAS of Dallas/Fort-Worth and Baker Botts LLP
on November 2, 2014

November 2, 2014

Thank you, Dr. Anny Wong for your kind introduction and for giving me the opportunity to address the business and cultural leaders in Dallas together with distinguished members of the “Walk in US/Talk in Japan” delegation.

When asked to address an esteemed Texan audience like today, I always say two things. The first is that Dallas, Texas is a great place, and generates the most dynamic momentum in the United States. But, today I don’t have to talk about it because you yourself know the strength of this region. The second part I should address is the bright future in store for Japan-Texas relations.  There are three pillars that are especially promising for a continued Japan-Texas partnership, and Governor Rick Perry fully agreed with me on this.

The first pillar is energy.  Just 10 days ago I attended the groundbreaking ceremony for the Cameron Liquification Project near the Louisiana-Texas border. Next week I will attend another ceremony for the Freeport Liquification Project.  Both these projects are first of their kind, realizing the dream of LNG exports from the U.S. to Japan.  Each site has total investments exceeding ten billion dollars, and will create three to four thousand jobs.

Of course, this is a significant accomplishment in a U.S.-Japan context.  Japan is in great need of LNG after the Fukushima Power plant incident, which the U.S. is now able to produce at lower costs thanks to the Shale Gas Revolution.  Moreover, in a global context, I would like to stress these mega LNG projects symbolize what I call the democratic energy alliance between the U.S. and Japan. As of today, Japan’s energy market is heavily dependent upon areas where free-market principles don’t always apply. It would be better if Japan could import more energy from democratic friends and send checks to them in return. Therefore I think it was a wise decision of the U.S. Government to approve seven major LNG export projects with non-FTA since April 2013, four of which are with Japanese companies. Texas is right in the center of this growing partnership.

The second pillar of our Japan-Texas partnership is high technology.  A high-speed rail between Dallas and Houston would be a game-changer for U.S. transportation, now based mostly on air and road travel. With a high-speed rail businessmen and woman can easily cross between big cities in Texas with punctuality and without checking in luggage, making long-distance business meetings more convenient. 

Another high technology I want to focus on is developed by Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency – an unmanned space vehicle.  After the recent NASA shuttle retirement, the International Space Station has relied on Japan, the E.U. and Russia to transport necessities such as food and experimental devices. Among these three, the Japanese unmanned space vehicle has unique technology which is called the capture method. The capture method allows the unmanned vehicle to approach within a 30 foot distance to the space station to then be captured by robotic arm mounted on the station’s exterior. This technology has already been transferred to a private American company, meaning that if you are rich enough, in the future you can visit the International Space Station in a very safe manner by using this Japanese technology.

The last high technology involves CO2 Capturing.  Two months ago I attended yet another groundbreaking ceremony of a post-combustion carbon capture-enhanced oil recovery project, the largest of its kind, located in Parish near Houston which also uses cutting-edge Japanese technology.  There are so many exciting collaborations between the U.S. and Japan taking place in Texas.

The third pillar of the Japan-Texas partnership is the strategic positioning of Texas within the States.  Japanese companies are shifting their strategy from producing goods in Japan and exporting them to the United States, to the next stage ofproducing goods directly in the U.S., practically becoming an American company.  In the initial stages of this transition many Japanese companies chose to locate their American headquarters on the west coast, a natural choice considering they had cross-Pacific business.  In the second stages of this transition, however more Japanese companies are picking Texas as the center of their U.S. operations due to its strategic central location within America.  This is true of Toyota’s move to Plano, near Dallas. I am sure this trend will gain momentum, leading Texas to be a dominant and fundamental player in the U.S.-Japan economic partnership.

These three pillars are built on a foundation of partnership and mutual-prosperity.  The Japan-Texas relationship is the centerpiece of larger U.S.-Japan relations and I am confident that as more and more Japanese people relocate to Texas to help build-up this alliance, they will enjoy your hospitality.  Therefore, I conclude that the future of Texans and Japan-Texas relations are great.  Thank you very much.