A Message from Consul General Ken Okaniwa

"A tremendous month
for Florida-Japan relations"

July was a tremendous month for Florida-Japan relations. It was my great pleasure to be among those celebrating the arrival of Tampa International Airport's new SkyConnect trams at Port Tampa Bay on July 17. The new automated people mover system is a joint undertaking of the airport and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.

No doubt, when the new trains start running, passengers will enjoy the smooth, safe and reliable ride between terminals. I am also very pleased that this new economic link between Florida and Japan will contribute to local jobs.

On July 21, the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) Squadron docked at Port Everglades for the first time as part of its trip around the world. The Squadron included about 580 personnel. Rear Admiral Manabe and I had the pleasure of welcoming many esteemed guests at a wonderful reception aboard the training ship JS Kashima.

During their stay, the JMSDF Training Squadron Band held a joint concert together with the US Navy Band Southeast at Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens, which had over 200 people in attendance. This momentous occasion promotes friendship and support among the Americans, and I am very proud that our important alliance has never been stronger.

I also had the pleasure to see off our latest group of graduates from Florida departing for Japan on July 29th. The 54 men and women have been selected to participate in the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program. This is our largest group ever! I wish each of them a fulfilling and safe stay in Japan.

Ken Okaniwa

Consul General of Japan

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