New Year's Message


I hope that the new year will be a good and fruitful one.
My thoughts are with those who have been affected by the tragic explosion in downtown Nashville on 25 December last year. I sincerely hope that the people and the city of Nashville will be in their original shapes through the earliest recovery. 
Due to the spread of COVID-19 last year, we were obliged to “Live with Corona” and make drastic changes of our work and lifestyles. Administrations in both countries faced a transitional period, but the importance of Japan-US alliance remained unchanged. Our alliance plays a significant role in regional and international peace and prosperity, and both countries recognize need to further strengthen the cooperative relationship as a result.
As we adjusted to the pandemic, I had various opportunities to talk about Japan-US relations in online forums hosted by organizations in the Consulate’s five-state jurisdiction. I was also able to discuss Japan’s response to the COVID-19, as well as women’s empowerment and women’s leadership.
Japanese companies in the region continue to meaningfully contribute to local economic development. They also support local communities through various measures, including producing and donating face-shields. I would like to continue my efforts to promote these contributions among local residents. The Japan-US Trade Agreement concluded last year. As a result, Japanese products such as Wagyu beef and soy sauce are becoming more readily available here while access to US beef, pork, and wine is growing in Japan. At the Consulate, we created cooking videos of highlighting these Japanese products last year. We will continue such efforts this year.
While many in-person events and exchanges had to be canceled to promote public safety, we were able to hold virtual versions of the Nashville Cherry Blossom Festival, the Moon-viewing Celebration at Cheekwood, and the Memphis Japan Festival last year in cooperation with relevant partner organizations. This past October, I welcomed last year’s returnees from the JET program at my residence. We are currently arranging to send new JET participants to Japan. We have been spreading the charms of Japanese culture and showcasing positive relations between Japan and this region through our social media. Our Instagram account, which was created last February, is gaining popularity. Our outreach through Facebook is also expanding. When you have time, please visit our FB and Instagram at “Japaninnashville.”
Preparations are ongoing in Japan to host the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games this summer. I hope that the games will be a good opportunity to deepen the bonds between Japan and the US, as well as other countries across the globe.
The Consulate continues to provide information and support to Japanese residents in the region. We are continuing in-person consular services, keeping our consular desk open to visitors.
In spite of the pandemic, there were many occasions last year on which I could feel the strength of the bilateral relationship, thanks to contributions of Japanese and American people in this region. I will continue my mission to promote even closer Japan-US relations in the area this year. I am counting on your continued support.
I wish you a wonderful New Year filled with good health and much happiness.
                                                                      January, 2021
Kayoko Fukushima
Consul-General of Japan in Nashville