REMARKS AS PREPARED
December 8, 2017
Thank you for your invitation to say a few words. First and foremost, I want to wish a Happy Birthday to His Majesty the Emperor of Japan! It is a wonderful honor to celebrate this occasion with all of you.
I’d also like to acknowledge and welcome Consul General Uchiyama, along with his wife, Karen. It was my honor to welcome you to Oregon almost two years ago. Our state is extremely lucky to have such a strong Consular Office to work with.
Oregon and Japan have a special relationship, one that’s based on mutual respect, cultural appreciation, and strong partnerships.
I was thrilled to return to Japan just this past October to honor the relationships we have built. Those relationships translate into jobs, growth, and prosperity for both Oregon and Japan.
Japan is without question one of the most important partners Oregon has in the global economy.
Oregon exports to Japan increased last year, while Japanese goods coming into Oregon increased as well. Because Oregon agriculture is so productive, about 80 percent of Oregon products are exported to regional and international markets.
While this is worth celebrating, there is more work to do. Tomorrow’s economy will challenge us to keep finding new ways to share the many talents and goods we have to offer each other—and seeing you all here I am confident that the future remains bright.
We are communities linked with shared economic goals and cultural values. I hope that the business between our state and Japan continues to blossom, and that our relationships and cultural exchanges continue.
The long-standing Sister City relationships between Oregon and Japan, as well as international student exchange programs are also key to our continued strong relationship.
I particularly look forward to the ever-expanding offerings by Portland’s Japanese Garden.
First opened in 1967, the garden has grown over the years-- most recently adding three new gardens as part of the Cultural Crossing expansion this year. Today, the Portland Japanese Garden is respected as the finest public Japanese garden in North America.
This coming year, the Portland Japanese Garden will focus on the culture heritage of Kyoto. In addition to learning about Kyoto’s time-honored traditions and renowned craftsmen, we’re looking forward to taking part in the Gion Matsuri celebration here in Oregon.
When we focus on developing personal relationships and cultivating mutual respect for and understanding of each other’s cultures, our communities and economies thrive together.
So Consul General, on behalf of all Oregonians, I’d like to thank you for your strong commitment to the partnerships and relationships that bond Japan and Oregon.
Let’s continue that growth together and bring jobs and prosperity to both Oregon and Japan.