Remarks by Consul General Eiichi Kawahara At First meeting of Florida JETAA and the Japanese Consulate
Residence of the Consul General of Japan in Miami
March 18, 2011
Welcome home! I am so glad to meet you all at my residence. Some of you have come down all the way from Gainesville and Tampa! We highly appreciate your participation.
I attach great importance to this JETAA meeting. This is my first time to meet with JET alumni here in my home. Our purpose is to have a closer relationship with JETAA members. We would like to count on your presence at Japanese events, sponsored by our Consulate and other organizations.
My colleague Abigail is the webmaster of JETAA Florida and a member of JETAA. Therefore, she knows better than me how you feel after returning home from your mission in Japan. You have a rich experience of cultures and tradition. You have better knowledge than ordinary American citizens about Japan and current events there.
We must strengthen our solidarity. Our consulate is pleased to share with you new information on what is happening here as well as in Japan through our communication tools, website and face book. Please let us know where your interest lies through e-mail and face book so that we could communicate in more proactive manner
Now, let me say a few words about current Japan:
Japan had huge earthquake and tsunamis in Tohoku Japan on March 11. We are much concerned about the increase in the number of causalities. Immediately after the disaster, rescue teams from various countries, including the most important ally, the United States, started to arrive in Japan. Offer of assistance from 117 countries and 29 international organizations were pledged so far. A friend in need is a real friend indeed.
Financial Times and Wall Street Journal praised the resilience of Japanese nationals and their preparedness for natural disaster in Japan. These papers also reported of incredible calmness of Japanese people in the disaster affected areas. We also have a bit of concern about nuclear power stations in Fukushima, but I hope they will overcome the challenge well.
Soon after the news of the earthquake and tsunami, we started receiving calls and e-mails from lots of Floridians to express their sympathy and solidarity with Japan, including Governor Rick Scott and CFO of State of Florida, Mr. Jeff Atwater and other peoples. I strongly hope that the victims of the earthquake and tsunami will recover and restart their normal life as soon as possible.
Now we would like to return to the today’s agenda.
So far 21 JETAA Florida members are with us today. They were sent to different prefectures in Japan. Your name tag color differs according to the region you were sent.
I would like ask JET members to make a very brief self introduction. I would like to call on JET returnees first, to make self introduction for one minute each.