Happy New Year! It’s already been two months since I assumed the role of Consul General of Japan in Seattle. During this period, I’ve had the privilege of meeting people from diverse backgrounds, attending various events, and gaining insight into the intricate history that has woven a complex fabric extending into the present.
2023 marked a year of triumph over the pandemic, with economic and cultural activities resuming in full swing. Last August, Seattle hosted the APEC ministerial meetings for the first time in 30 years, addressing crucial topics such as climate change and energy security.
This past year marks the 60th anniversary of the sister state relationship between Hyogo Prefecture and Washington State. The milestone was commemorated at a special ceremony in Olympia, attended by both governors. Hyogo Prefecture also organized an event to boost inbound tourism.
Reflecting on history, in 1934, three individuals from Mihama Town, Chita Peninsula, Aichi Prefecture, were lost at sea and eventually washed ashore at Cape Flattery on the west coast of Washington State. This incident is believed to mark the first Japanese landing on the U.S. mainland, and this year commemorates its 190th anniversary. I extend my sincere tribute to Japanese Americans for all their community has built and achieved across many generations. The enduring Japan-U.S. relationship today is indebted to the heroic efforts of Japanese Americans who, despite hardships before and during World War II, forged a path in American society, earning the trust and respect of their peers.
Approaching the bicentennial of Japan-U.S. relations, this year promises further breakthroughs, not only in sister city relationships but also in grassroots cultural and youth exchanges. Capitalizing on these opportunities, we aim to showcase the allure of Japan in Washington, Montana, and Northern Idaho, fostering deeper connections and exchanges in the realms of business, culture, and tourism between our regions.
Wishing you all a healthy and joyous New Year!