New Year’s Greetings from the Consul General of the Consular Office of Japan in Portland

A Happy New Year to everyone! I now greet my second New Year since arriving in Portland and I look forward to continuing to work with you all in 2018!

Looking back over the past year, how was 2017 for you? As for the relationship between Japan and the United States, with the inauguration of the Trump administration in January of last year and the rising tensions in East Asia, I think it is fair to say that 2017 was a year which reaffirmed the importance of the alliance between our two nations. Stability in the East Asia region necessitates our leaders recognize the importance of further developing and strengthening U.S.-Japan relations. We are engaged in frequent exchanges of views on such issues as foreign policy and the global economy. Clearly, in order to build a strong and cooperative relationship; mutual trust, mutual understanding, and true friendship are essential. I would like to express my gratitude to you all for the understanding and cooperation you have shown. May we continue to work well together.

Last year was also the 75th anniversary of the issuance of Executive Order 9066 which led to the compulsory internment of Japanese American citizens during World War II. Commemorative events were held in various places, but this milestone was also an opportunity to renew awareness of the experiences of Japanese Americans and their history in this country.

When it comes to relations between Japan and the Oregon, currently there are about 140 Japanese companies operating here: creating thousands of jobs and contributing to the state economy. As interest in Portland and the State of Oregon continues to rise in Japan, last year also saw a rise in new Japanese businesses launched, as well as those who have presented clear plans to invest in this region. In October, Governor Brown led a trade mission to Japan and helped spread the word of Oregon’s attractiveness to new businesses. As we move forward, I expect even further strengthening of the economic relationship between Japan and this beautiful state.

I have also had various opportunities to witness the many Sister-city exchanges that thrive in this area, and these connections are extremely encouraging. Presently, there are 22 sister-city relationships between Oregon and Japan. Many exchanges of townspeople and middle and high school students are taking place and I feel they play an essential role in the promotion of mutual understanding and the cultivation of friendship between our two countries. I would like to thank all of you on both sides of the Pacific who dedicate yourselves to these activities.

Finally, I would like to say that I hope 2018 will be a wonderful and happy year for you all.

Kojiro Uchiyama
Consul General
Consular Office of Japan in Portland