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Japan Info Flash
March 26, 2013
Published by Consulate General of Japan in New York / Japan Information Center
An aura of growing optimism in Japan, a meeting with Prime Minister Abe and a commemoration of the second year anniversary of 3.11 in Fukushima were highlights of the 2013 Japanese American Leadership Delegation’s March trip to Japan. Organized by the U.S.-Japan Council, the 10 Japanese American representatives were selectively chosen to be part of the annual JALD program which fosters the development of relations and cultural understanding between Japan and the U.S.
New York’s delegate was Ms. Julie Azuma, a well-known leader in the Japanese American community and the owner of Different Roads to Learning which provides learning materials for children with autism. She shared with us some observations from her weeklong JALD trip to Fukushima and Tokyo:

“Our most memorable Fukushima visit was on the anniversary of the Tsunami at 2:46 on March 11th. We observed an emotional moment of silence while at Odagai-sama Community Center for relocated members of the town of Tomioka… It’s their belief that this is not a local event and aftermath; it’s an important global lesson to be learned and shared. Fukushima Prefecture wants the world to know that it has a positive and safe future.
What we learned is that there is a change in the air of new optimism from every quarter… We were so privileged to be seeing Japan on the edge of rejuvenation.”

In Tokyo, Ms. Azuma, fellow delegates and U.S.-Japan Council President Irene Hirano met with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe who encouraged their work in strengthening the “people-to-people” relations between Japan and the U.S. Other notable meetings were with Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida, Ambassador John Roos, and many other leaders prominent in the political, business and academic sectors in Japan.
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