Consulate-General of Japan in Houston


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Remarks by Consul-General Nozomu Takaoka
at Dinner and Panel Discussion
hosted by World Affairs Council of Austin
on June 17, 2015

June 17, 2015

Thank you for the introduction.  My name is Nozomu Takaoka and I am the Consul General of Japan in Houston.

I would like to express my appreciation to the President, Mr. Mortada Mohamed, and the Vice President, Mr. Ben Ramirez and other members of the World Affairs Council Austin. It is generous of you to host tonight’s dinner and for welcoming the Walk in U.S., Talk on Japan Delegation. I would also like to thank those esteemed organizations and individuals who have taken the time to meet with us today and yesterday in support of Japan-U.S. relations: the Honorable Steve Adler, Mayor of the great city of Austin; the Honorable Coby Shorter, Deputy Secretary of State, as well as St. Edwards University, the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce, and several state government officials. Thank you for your efforts.

I’ve always felt that Austin, great capital of the great state of Texas, should be one of the focuses of Japan-Texas dialogue and exchange. This dinner and panel discussion is an excellent avenue for us to promote this idea.  I appreciate the interest, energy and support of everyone here.

Walk in U.S., Talk on Japan is a useful vehicle to promote Japan-US exchange. Previously, through this program, Ambassador Saito has led successful missions in Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, and Alabama, and will continue on to San Antonio next.

I, myself, have been in this position of Japanese Consul-General for a year and a half and luckily this period has coincided with a growing link between Japan and Texas.  I foresee these relations growing even more in the long future to come due to three factors: Firstly, Texas is the geographic center of the U.S. which is clearly advantageous for international companies such as Toyota, which is now relocating their headquarters to Texas.

Secondly, energy relations are on the rise. America is now the world’s largest oil and gas producer according to a recent announcement by BP. Japan, as the largest importer of LNG, joins with the U.S. to form what I call the “democratic energy alliance”. This mutually beneficial relationship has its roots in Texas, the nation’s leading energy producers.

Thirdly, there are growing high-tech collaborations between Japan and Texas. Specifically, partnerships between NASA and JAXA, and the proposed high speed rail between Houston and Dallas. 

I look forward to the future of the Japan-U.S. friendship and am sure that tonight will further our goal of closer economic, business and trade ties for our two great nations.