New Year Message from Consul Sato

Warmest greetings and best wishes for 2018.
 
The highlight of the U.S.-Japan relations in 2017 was no doubt President Trump’s visit to Japan in early November. President Trump and Prime Minister Abe reaffirmed that the robust Japan-U.S. alliance is the foundation for peace and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region and the world.
 
In Alaska, seven municipalities have sister-city relationship with municipalities in Japan. In July 2017, a delegation from the city of Gero led by Mayor Hattori visited Ketchikan to celebrate 30th anniversary of the sister cities of Ketchikan and Gero/Kanayama. Also in July, a delegation from the city of Akita led by Mayor Hozumi visited Kenai Peninsula Borough to celebrate the 25th anniversary of their sister-city relationship. In September 2017, the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force Training Squadron visited Anchorage after an interval of six years. In March 2018, Seward and Obihiro will mark 50 years of their sister-city relationship.    
 
Since 1986, young people of Alaska have participated in the JET Program * and have spent one year or more experiencing Japan at the local level as Assistant Language Teachers (ALT) or Coordinator for International Relations (CIR). In 2017, eight young people from Alaska participated in the JET Program, bringing the total number of Alaskans who have worked as ALT or CIR in Japan to 222.
 
* The JET Program – Japan Exchange and Teaching Program – invites college graduates to Japan to teach English or to engage in international exchange activities at local government offices. Participants experience Japan at the local level through daily life at their schools or local government offices, and act as “cultural ambassadors” of the United States to their local communities.
 
Alaska and Japan have enjoyed cordial relations for many years. Long-time efforts and hard-earned experience of Japanese and Japanese-Americans in Alaska have contributed greatly to such relations. We believe deepening the mutual understanding of Japan and Alaska as well as their respective peoples, through tangible cross-cultural interactions, will lead to making the invaluable Alaska-Japan friendship even stronger. In 2018, the Consular Office of Japan in Anchorage, based on such belief, will strive to promote cultural and other exchanges and carry out programs aimed at helping the people of Alaska to deepen their understanding of Japan and Japanese people.   
 
We would be deeply grateful for your continued support for making the bonds of friendship between Alaska and Japan even stronger.


Masatoshi Sato
Consular Office of Japan in Anchorage