Greeting from Consul General


New Year Greeting from Consul General INAGAKI Hisao

Happy New Year!
Last year, we continued to be affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Although it was thought that the infection rate would subside in the summer due to increasing vaccination rates, especially in western Washington, and the economy would recover, it stagnated again due to the spread of the variants. Even now, we find ourselves returning to caution, as news of new variant strains have strengthened Japan's border measures once again.

But last year also brought us moments of encouragement, one being the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games, held from July to September. The Games were held by giving top priority to safety, early detection, and limiting visitor activity during those critical 14 days upon arrival. While there were some concerns to hold the Olympics during these uncertain times, I think the Olympics were able to contribute to the revitalization of people’s connections and bonds, which had faltered these past two years. The power of sports brought the world together again, and the performances of the Japanese athletes and the athletes from Washington State and Montana became sources of great inspiration.

We also had opportunities to celebrate Japan-Washington State relations in 2021. In August and September, we held ceremonies to award the Seattle Japanese Garden and Panama Hotel (Seattle Nikkei American Museum) the Foreign Minister’s Commendation for 2020, which had been postponed from last year. Although the events were held with a limited number of people, I was very pleased to see the many smiling faces of participants who had not seen each other in person for a long time.

On December 10, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries announced that Mr. Shiro Kashiba and Mr. Takeyuki Suetsugu were recipients of the 15th Japanese Food Overseas Dissemination Achievement Award. It was a great encouragement for us to learn that two distinguished chefs in our area were selected for their great contribution to the promotion of Japanese food here in Washington State.

And now, we look to this year. 2022 will mark the 40th anniversary of Kumamoto Prefecture and Montana’s sister state relations. On the premise of continued measures against this pandemic, in cooperation with each country and related organizations, I will work to deepen the friendship between Japan and the states of Washington and Montana.

The number of folded paper cranes I have been folding every day since I arrived in Seattle has reached five hundreds on January 2nd. I hope that 2022 will be a turning point for this pandemic and wish you all a year full of optimism and strength.
January 1, 2022

Consul General of Japan in Seattle

【January 1, 2021】New Year Greeting from Consul General INAGAKI Hisao
【August 26, 2020】Consul General INAGAKI Hisao Assignment Greeting