Consulate-General of Japan in Houston


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Remarks by Consul-General Nozomu Takaoka
at The reception for the occasion of
the IWF World Weightlifting Championships
in Houston
on November 18, 2015

November 18, 2015

Good evening everyone, and welcome to Houston. My name is Nozomu Takaoka, Consul General of Japan in Houston. Together with my co-host of this event, Ms. Donna Cole, President of Cole Chemical, and former President of Japan America Society of Houston, I am very honored to receive so many esteemed guests joining us from various parts of the world thanks to the 2015 World Weightlifting Championship. 

I would like to show my appreciation of the gracious attendance of : Mr. Wenguang, General Secretary of the WIF; Vice President and Executive Board members; Mr. Michel Massick, USA Weightlifting Federation CEO; and respected and dedicated members of the IWF committee, secretariat, and other national federations.

I would also like to recognize the guests who have joined us from Japan, the Honorable Tsutomu Tomioka, State Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology who has just arrived from George Bush International Airport. He was attending the World Anti-Doping Agency Executive Committee meeting in Colorado Springs, and came to Houston to join us here tonight.

Also, the Honorable Yuriko Koike, former Defense Minister and Environment Minister of Japan, and current Member of the House of Representatives of Japan and the President of the Japan Weightlifting Association.

Japan is very fortunate to have Ms. Koike as the president of JWA for two reasons.  Before hosting the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo, Japan needs to strengthen its muscle for both economic growth and for sports, including weight lifting. Ms. Koike was the very first among influential Japanese politicians to focus upon the importance of the environment and more female participation in economic growth.

Ms. Koike is also a strong personal force in sports world. With her clout as an influential politician and media background as an anchor of a popular TV news program in Japan, she will be able to marshal Japanese popular support for Weightlifting.  Also, Ms. Koike’s friendship with the legendary Miyake family is a strong source of passion for weightlifting. Three athletes from this family, an elder brother, younger brother, who is with us tonight as Vice President of JWA, and his daughter, have produced in total two gold, two silver and one bronze Olympic medal at the 1960 Rome, 1964 Tokyo, 1968 Mexico, and 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.

The Japanese government strongly supports Ms. Koike’s efforts to broaden JWA’s contribution to global weightlifting.  Therefore, I am also happy to lend my support to this great mission. Please join me in welcoming our next speaker, Ms. Yuriko Koike.