A Happy New Year to everyone! I was very happy to greet my first New Year as Consul General in Portland and I look forward to working with you all in 2019. Since arriving in Portland in March of last year and attending various events and ceremonies I have come to feel the closeness of the Oregon-Japan relationship on a daily basis. This close relationship has been built by the many Japanese citizens who have come here to pursue their various dreams, the Japanese-American community with its more than 100 years of dramatic and vibrant history, all of the many organizations and associations of friends of Japan who have dedicated themselves to the development and maintenance of our strong and amicable ties, and the States of Oregon and Idaho for their commitment to friendship with Japan. I thank you all from the bottom of my heart for your hard work and dedication.
Last year, in April, Special Advisor to the Prime Minister, Mr. Kentaro Sonoura, visited Portland and had productive discussions with Governor Brown and other local leaders regarding the U.S.-Japan economic relationship as well as talks on travel, tourism and people-to-people exchanges between our two countries. In August, Ambassador to the U.S. Shinsuke Sugiyama came to Portland and engaged in a healthy dialogue at the government level, including meeting with Governor Brown and visits to local Japanese business interests. Furthermore, as seen in the robust sister-state relationship between Oregon and Toyama, the thriving Portland-Sapporo sister-city relationship and the 25 other sister-city agreements that exist between Oregon, Idaho and towns all over Japan; interaction and exchange at the local level are flourishing. In this region interest in Japan is extremely high and is by no means limited to the state level. Even at the county and municipal levels we appreciate the continuing effort and enthusiasm to promote ever closer relations with Japan. At the same time, interest in Oregon has also been increasing in Japan. The number of Japanese companies entering the local market is on the rise and at the end of last year, a large-scale Japanese retail store was opened in the heart of downtown Portland. Beyond these business ties, volunteers from Oregon also visited Japan to offer disaster recovery assistance immediately after the flooding in western Japan last summer and the earthquake that struck Hokkaido in the fall. These acts of goodwill also demonstrate that support and exchange activities on the local level are very strong.
This year, the Heisei Emperor will abdicate the throne and a new era will begin in Japan. In Portland it will also be a significant year as we celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Portland-Sapporo Sister-City Association. Mutual visits to Sapporo and Portland by the sister-city delegations are scheduled along with various other activities and events. As for this Consular Office, we will do everything in our power to help make the most of the celebrations and we thank you for your cooperation and support. Also, if you would ever like to actively participate in and assist with friendship exchange activities in cities and areas other than Portland, please do not hesitate to contact us. Additionally, we would like to make every effort to expand the effectiveness of our consular services to Japanese citizens living outside of the Portland area. I believe one of the most important duties of a Consular Office is to provide these services to people living beyond urban population centers.
Based on the friendship and goodwill cultivated by my predecessors, I would like for this office to achieve even further leaps ahead in 2019. We will make every effort to do so and I thank you for your continued support. I sincerely hope that 2019 will be a wonderful year for you all!
Consular Office of Japan in Portland
New Year’s Greetings from the Consul General Teraoka
January 7, 2019