2017 New Year's Greeting from Consul General Masahiro Omura

CG Omura PhotoA Happy New Year to all of you!
Mr. Donald Trump won last year’s fiercely fought presidential election. Regardless of the administration, the bond between our two countries, firmly tied together by the fundamental belief in freedom, democracy, basic human rights, and the rule of law, cannot be broken. Demonstrating this resolve, in the week following the election, a meeting was held between President-elect Trump and Prime Minister Abe before any other nation.
As the global community continues to face new issues, in order to be at the forefront of the era, Japan and the U.S. must use these beliefs as a basis to strive for the advancement and deepening of relations between the two countries and further cooperation. Towards this end, it is essential that not just initiatives between countries, but dialogue and cooperation at the regional, private enterprise and grassroots level are pursued.
With this viewpoint, in June 2016, the Government of Japan and the State of Washington signed the Memorandum of Cooperation on Economic and Trade Relations. In addition to boosting joint activities on the ongoing development and flight testing of the Mitsubishi Regional Jet (MRJ), the MOC will encourage the development of new business ventures, workforce development, academic partnerships and joint research in a variety of areas. Interest from both sides, including by local governments, businesses and universities, has led to a new memorandum between Aichi Prefecture and Washington State among other benefits. In November of last year, the Memorandum of Cooperation on the Partial Reciprocal Exemption of Driver License Examination was signed with Washington State which is, starting this year, expected to reduce the burden of obtaining a driver license and further promote bilateral exchange. In 2017, I would like to request your kind understanding and cooperation as we further accelerate and expand on these efforts.
This year will also mark the 60th anniversary of Kobe-Seattle sister-city relations and the 35th anniversary of the Kumamoto-Montana sister-state partnership. We are thankful for the assistance that was quickly extended by this region during the Great Hanshin Earthquake, the Great East Japan Earthquake, and the earthquake in Kumamoto last year, and request your continued support.
I sincerely wish you all happiness and success for the New Year.
January 2017
Consul General of Japan Masahiro Omura