Consulate-General of Japan in Houston


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Remarks by Consul-General Nozomu Takaoka
at the 2015 Sun & Star Legacy Award Dinner in Dallas

on April 20, 2015

April 20, 2015

Thank you for the kind introduction and inviting me once again to this prestigious dinner.  I appreciate the gracious presence of Fort Worth Mayor the Honorable Betsy Price here with us, Dallas Mayor the Honorable Mike Rawlings, and Irving Mayor the Honorable Beth Van Duyne.  The personal involvement of these three great mayors in the United States to this annual event is a great sign of cooperation and respect for the importance of the Japanese-Dallas/Fort Worth and Irving exchange.

Thank you very much to the Japan America Society of Dallas/Fort Worth for organizing today’s event.  I particularly would like to thank its President, Ms. Elaine Browning for working energetically since she became President of the society last year, as well as Ms. Anne McFarland for her continually stable management of the society, including today’s event.  Thank you also to our master of ceremonies, Mr. Adam Zehner for his work to make tonight such a heartwarming event.

 I’d like to offer my continual appreciation to the Honorable Consul General of Japan Mr. John Stitch and his wife Christiana for hosting the reception again this year.

And finally I would like to thank Ambassador Thomas Schieffer and Mrs. Susanne Schieffer who were kind and generous enough to honor this important event with their presence.  Your gracious presence is always an excellent sign for Japan-Texas relations and its  promising future. 

And finally, let me offer my thanks to people like all of you from the business sector, who provide power to the main engine of this society’s important activities.

During my past year and a half as Consul General of Japan in Houston, I have said many times that there are great prospects for the successful future between Japan and Texas that are grounded upon three crucial areas;

The first area is related to Texas’s geocentric position in the United States.  Japanese companies are beginning to appreciate the importance of Texas’s strategic position in the center of nation.  A good example of this is the relocation of the Toyota headquarters to Plano.  This was announced shortly before last year’s Sun & Star Legacy dinner, however this movement is so critical, and other Japanese companies are now following Toyota’s path, that I believe it deserves mentioning again.

A second point of focus between Japan and Texas is energy.  Last year, I was present at the groundbreaking ceremonies of both the Freeport and the Cameron Liquefied Natural Gas projects.  I witnessed the groundbreaking of a CO2 capture and oil recovery project at Fort Bent County.  I also had the pleasure of accompanying a Japanese Parliamentarians’ delegation to the Barnet Shale Gas Project. Although currently there are fluctuations in oil prices, I believe that these long-term cooperative projects between Japan and Texas will continue for the benefit of both sides.

Finally, my third point brings two major Texan metropolitan areas together through the proposed High Speed Rail that will link Dallas and Houston. These are the three main pillars which show even the future is bigger for Japan and Texas relations.

All those who have kindly gathered here tonight are exactly the type of leaders who have the power to turn these promising predictions of growth into a reality.  I’m very happy and proud to say that no one from the Japanese side has displayed such a thoughtful and imaginative initiative and a strong leadership more than Chairman Yoshiyuki Kasai of Central Japan Railway. I would like to take this opportunity to commend his most inspiring contribution to the Japan-Texas cooperation.

Another thing I often say is that Texas represents a happy marriage of economic prosperity, cultural beauty and international diversity.  It is in that where Ann and Gabriel Barbier-Mueller have enhanced Texas’s gifts with their museum and the Samurai Collection.  Such exquisite pieces paired together as their museum has done are rare to see in one place even in Japan.  I am so glad that thanks to them Japanese art and history has become a part of the prosperous international culture of Dallas/Fort Worth.

In gratitude to all those honored tonight and for everyone else who could join us this evening, I propose a toast to the success of many cooperative ventures between Japan and Texas, large-scale, small-scale, long-term, short-term, and to the great future ahead for Japan and Texas and the United States, and to great prosperity and happiness for everyone.