Friends of Japan,
I write this message with heartfelt gratitude for your support since the Great East Japan Earthquake and subsequent tsunami struck Japan in March. You were quick to react, giving of your time, energy, and resources to relieve the people of my country. Local organizations and individuals rallied to hold garage sales and drive-by fundraisers; even now, many restaurants and shops continue to donate a portion of their proceeds towards Japan relief. My office received so many calls and emails to offer assistance. These efforts, and much more, demonstrate the old and well-loved Japanese word that Prime Minister Kan spoke of not too long ago: kizuna, which means the bonds of friendship.
A common adage says that tough times reveal true friends. I’m so glad that 3.11 – as the Great East Japan Earthquake has come to be known – has demonstrated that the United States, and especially Southern California, is an exceptional friend of Japan. The Consulate General of Japan in Los Angeles, along with the Japan Business Association of Southern California, the Japanese Chamber of Commerce of Southern California, the Japan Prefectural Association of Southern California, the Japan Foundation Los Angeles, the Japan External Trade Organization Los Angeles, and the Japan National Tourism Organization Los Angeles would like to collectively say: ARIGATO. Please join us for a free public reception on Wednesday, September 7, 2011, at the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center’s Noguchi Plaza, where we will provide samples of Tohoku area sake in recognition of your efforts. I look forward to seeing you there.