Today I welcomed the Consulate-General of Japan based in Seattle. He is in Yakima learning more about our community and building relationships with Yakima area organizations. Yakima has a sister city relationship with Itayanagi Japan in the province of Aomori. He plans to visit the Yakima Valley Museum and travel to Wapato as part of his visit here. Sometimes we just never know who is coming in and out of our town, but it's nice to share Yakima and everything it offers with people from all over the world.

City of Yakima

I am Kiyokazu Ota. I arrived in Seattle to start my post on March 26th, 2010.

When I was quite young, I remember being glued to American TV programs such as Lassie, 77 Sunset Strip, and The Fugitive. At that time, American culture was dominant in our daily lives, and America was the target of my admiration. In college, I majored in International Relations, and when we talked about international politics, it always meant the US. I have visited the US many times in the past, but this is my first time to be assigned a post here.

After anxiously beginning my tenure in Seattle, the beautiful surroundings and the fresh air of Seattle made me feel at ease. I found the area to be full of entrepreneurial spirit, infused by the advanced nature of many industries such as in the fields of aerospace, IT, and bio-tech, coupled together with many universities and research institutions. The sister-city activities are also lively in Washington State, where about 36,000 Japanese Americans call it home. This is the first time I have served in a region where I could share a sense of solidarity with many of the residents in view of forging a friendly Japan-US relationship. I believe that this friendly atmosphere has been created by the long-time efforts made by these residents.

Our two countries enjoy a close relationship in the fields of politics, security, trade and economics. What support this great relationship are the cultural, educational and people-to-people ties. I believe that Washington State is one of the states which strive to put these great ties into practice vigorously in an ideal manner. I would like to work together with these people and join the network which connects Japanese Americans, local Japanese residents, and other friendly residents of Washington State. This is because I firmly believe that Seattle and Washington State will be an anchor no matter what might happen to affects the great Japan-US relationship in the future.