The time has come for me to embark on my next diplomatic assignment. I will leave Nashville at the end of March.
I wish to express my deep appreciation to the people who have shown me and my wife, Yoshie, such wonderful support during my time as Consul-General serving Tennessee, Kentucky, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Louisiana.
It was my privilege to travel extensively in each of these five states. I met with governors, state and local officials, business representatives, and education officials. I met with current and former members of the U.S. armed services. I met new friends and neighbors who bring vitality to the U.S.-Japan circle of friends.
Together, we have promoted people-to-people exchanges between American and Japanese people, growing the kizuna (bond) that unites our two nations. Together, we celebrated with festivals such as the sakura, or cherry blossom, festival. Together, we nurtured future generations of leaders through our Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) program for young people who wish to live and serve in my country.
In this fast-paced, ever-changing world, it is easy to become overwhelmed. It is easy to close in and focus on what divides us. But, time and time again, we return to what brings us together: a strong alliance, economic relations, and friendship.
The future will no doubt bring more change, which can be accompanied by challenges. I am confident that, if such challenges ever test our bilateral friendship, we will be able to look at the southeastern United States for guidance - a model of how important and beneficial our U.S.-Japan partnership really is.
The future will also bring more opportunities for us to make this partnership even stronger. Again, the world can look to the circle of friends we have built between Japan and the southeastern U.S. to take its cues - and I am grateful that I could contribute in some way to this success. It has been my greatest honor, and I am filled with gratitude for each and every person who shares the same passion and commitment for our alliance.
As my time in Nashville draws to a close, we will upload to our homepage some of the speeches and op-ed contributions that I have delivered and authored. I hope these words will provide insight into my enthusiasm for this service and some reference for future efforts.
Again, thank you for your continued support for Japan-U.S. relations, and best wishes for your future endeavors.
Consul-General of Japan in Nashville
March 14, 2018
Greetings from Consul-General Masami Kinefuchi