Consulate-General of Japan in Houston


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Remarks by Consul-General Nozomu Takaoka
at the Inaugural Ceremony
for the First All Nippon Airways(ANA) nonstop flight
from Houston to Tokyo
at Houston George Bush Intercontinental Airport
on June 12, 2015

June 12, 2015

Congratulations to all for the momentous occasion of the inaugural ANA flight between Houston and Tokyo.  I would like to extend a warm welcome to Mr. Osamu Shinobe, All Nippon Airways President and CEO, for graciously joining us having travelled from Tokyo. I understand he will go back to Tokyo with this inaugural flight. I would also like to recognize the honorable presence of important partners to Japan; Mr. Ed Gonzalez, Mayor Pro Tem of the city of Houston; Mr. Mario Diaz and Mr. Lance Lyttle from the Houston Airport system; Mr. Jim Compton from United Airlines; Mr. Bob Pertierra from the Greater Houston Partnership; and Mr. Oliver Yang from the State of Texas Economic Development and Tourism.

As the Consul General of Japan in Houston, and one of the Japanese residents in this city, please allow me to wholeheartedly welcome ANA to Houston because ANA is one of the best providers of excellent air travel and comfortable service.  I am looking forward to using ANA next month to fly home for my summer vacation.

I am glad to learn that two great leaders of our community, the Governor of Texas, the Honorable Greg Abbott and the Mayor of Houston, the Honorable Annise Parker, voiced their congratulations to ANA through their proclamations.  Let me clarify why this event represents the promising future for Houston, Texas and Japan. 

The first reason is a growing Japanese presence in the Houston area. Recently, Japanese people living in Houston have increased from 2,400 in 2012 to 3,200 in 2014 and the number continues to rise.  That is an increase of more than 30% in two years.  Additionally, Japanese companies based in Houston have grown, expanding from 95 in 2012, to 115 in 2015- a 20% increase.  So many Japanese people are voting with their feet and their money for the future of Houston, and ANA has wisely heeded their call. 

The second reason is the growing power of Houston as an excellent hub for transport and travel.  These benefits are important for Japanese people and businesses because Houston offers an excellent travel link to many American cities as well as Mexico, Brazil, and other Latin American countries. 

The third reason is Tokyo’s growing advantage as a hub in Asia for Houston.  In addition to its geographical advantage as the closest major international airport in Asia for the American continent, both Narita and Haneda are increasing their capacities and international connections.  As of yesterday, ANA has started a second daily flight to Singapore, and will add another to its service to Bangkok in August. In short, through a union between Tokyo and Houston, and between All Nippon Airways and United Airways, industries will be able to grow their businesses together.

          Again, please accept my deep congratulations on such an accomplishment and all my best wishes for the future of this exciting venture.