Monday, July 2, 2012
Mr. Jun Niimi Consul General of Japan to Los Angeles
"I arrived on October 8, 2011 to begin my position as Consul General. This is my first assignment to the United States and I am looking forward to learning more about American culture and fostering the Japan-U.S. relationship in the context of this jurisdiction.
As the official representative of the Government of Japan here, my primary duties include the protection of Japanese nationals as well as further strengthening the already close bonds of friendship enjoyed by Japanese and Americans in Southern California and Arizona. I work closely with my staff and partner with the community to promote Japanese business and support Japanese and Japan-related cultural organizations and activities.
"Like my predecessor, Mr. Ihara, I started working for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1979. This was just after graduating from the University of Tokyo's Faculty of Law. My previous international assignments were to England, Kenya, France, Iran, Russia and Thailand. In addition to this being my first post to the U.S. it is also my first time to be a consul general. Even though I have been a career diplomat I still have a lot to learn. But I look forward to it, in fact, I have already started to study. So far I have learned that there are about 1,200 Japanese businesses and nearly 95,000 Japanese nationals living in Southern California and Arizona. The Japanese American community has a population of roughly 270,000 and comprises up to six generations. Those are some of the highest numbers in the United States and it means that there is alot of common ground between Japanese and Americans here.
Southern California and Arizona comprises a very significant and meaningful jurisdiction in which to continue growing Japan-US relations. Not only that, but Los Angeles is one of the most ethnically diverse areas of the world, which will allow us to foster good friendships with people of many countries. I am eager to meet as many people as possible and continue the important work of this office."
To further strengthen the bond between Japan and the US, the consulate is planning various community events to promote Japanese culture, especially now (2012) which is the centennial anniversary of the gift of cherry blossom trees to Washington DC from Tokyo. To commemorate the centennial, many events will be held all over the country, and the Los Angeles consulate is preparing for cherry blossom plantings in Los Angeles and San Diego.