2023 New Year's Greeting from Consul General Inagaki


Happy New Year!

2022 was still filled with challenges, but also progress, as the world tried to turn towards a new normal state of operations.

In June, Ambassador Tomita and Governor Inslee extended the Memorandum of Cooperation on Economic and Trade Relations between the Government of Japan and the State of Washington, which was initially signed in 2016. This renewal aims to further develop cooperation between Japan and Washington State.

Commemorating the 65th anniversary of the sister city relationship between Seattle and Kobe and the 40th anniversary of the sister state relationship between Montana and Kumamoto, delegations traveled between Japan and the United States to further strengthen cultural and economic ties.

In August, Ichiro was inducted into the Mariners Hall of Fame. Last year marked the 150th anniversary of Japan-U.S. baseball exchanges, and Ichiro accomplished many great achievements in both Japan and the United States. As a Japanese person, I was very proud of Ichiro's induction into the Hall of Fame. I had the honor of throwing the first pitch at a Mariners game during the weekend that commemorated his induction. Thanks to everyone's support, I was able to throw the ball, and it made it to the catcher. I have now completely become a Mariners fan, and after that weekend I visited the stadium to watch the games and checked the sports news frequently.

2022 also marked both the 80th anniversary of Executive Order 9066, which authorized the internment of Japanese and Japanese Americans during World War II, and the 120th anniversary of The North American Post. During a critical time in history as Japanese and Japanese Americans were returning home from the incarceration camps, The North American Post was a valuable resource for disseminating news to the local Japanese and Japanese American community. Since my arrival in Seattle, I have learned about the rich history of Japanese Americans in the Northwest. Consequently, my gratitude has deepened for their dedication and sacrifice in laying the foundation for the friendship between the U.S. and Japan that exists today. The North American Post continues to be a valuable resource for sharing news and preserving these important stories from the Nikkei community for future generations.

Shifting to world affairs, Russia's invasion of Ukraine last February was an outrageous act that shook the foundations of the international order that human beings have built for the past 77 years after WWII. As the security of Japan and the surrounding region becomes increasingly uncertain, the Japan-U.S. alliance has become more important than ever, as have people-to-people exchanges between Japan and the U.S, one of the pillars of the alliance, together with security and economic relations.

In 2023, I am optimistic about overcoming the challenges of the past two years and ready to get back to pre-pandemic levels of activity related to economy and culture. Two celebrations that will hopefully increase opportunities to boost these sectors are the 60th anniversary of the sister state relationship between Washington and Hyogo and the 100th anniversary of the Japan-America Society of the State of Washington. Further bolstering the economic front, APEC-related ministerial meetings will be held in Seattle in August.

While making the most of these opportunities, we will keep striving to promote Japan in Washington State, Northern Idaho, and Montana, and help further strengthen ties through exchanges in business, culture, tourism, and education.

Since I arrived in Seattle, I have folded origami cranes every day to pray for world peace and everyone's health. Now, I have folded more than 850 cranes, and my prayers continue. I wish you all a healthy, happy, and prosperous year.
January 1, 2023
Consul General of Japan, INAGAKI Hisao