New Year's Greeting from Consul General Akira Chiba


Happy New Year 2019 to all in Southern California and Arizona!


Thank you for warmly supporting the Consulate General of Japan’s activities and operations in 2018. We are deeply grateful.


Looking back on 2018, there was continued growth in Japan-U.S. relations. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and President Donald Trump held four summit meetings, while their phone conversations were more than double that frequency. The fact that the leaders of Japan and the U.S. directly touch base at a pace of at least once a month demonstrates the strength of our bilateral ties. In addition, Foreign Minister Taro Kono’s visit to Los Angeles and visits to Japan by Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti were also notable highlights in the year 2018. Japanese Diet and U.S. Congress members have also engaged in fruitful interchanges, illustrating how Japan and the U.S. have built strong relationships at various levels of government.


On the local front, Japan continues to enjoy a strong connection with Southern California and Arizona. According to a 2018 World Trade Center Los Angeles report on foreign direct investment in Southern California, Japan was the No. 1 foreign direct investor in the region, while Japanese and Japanese-affiliated companies were responsible for about 86,000 jobs. These businesses, which totaled around 800 and about 40 respectively in Southern California and Arizona, are important partners to their communities, helping to support local economies and making other significant contributions.


The support of many local residents makes Japan’s strong ties with Southern California and Arizona possible. A total of 44 sister-city relationships exist between Japan and our jurisdiction. In 2019, two sister-city relationships will celebrate a 60-year milestone: Nagoya-Los Angeles and Tachikawa-San Bernardino. This follows the three sister-city relationships that hit the notable 60-year milestone in 2017: Yokohama-San Diego, Sendai-Riverside and Mishima-Pasadena. Such connections are the result of long-standing bonds cultivated on a people-to-people basis.


In our region, Japanese food and anime are among the things that are widely popular. But Japan has many other attractions and treasures to offer. In 2018, JAPAN HOUSE Los Angeles held its highly-anticipated grand opening in Hollywood. Located on the 2nd and 5th floors of Hollywood & Highland shopping complex, JAPAN HOUSE Los Angeles features a gallery, shop, café, library, event space and restaurant that offer unique ways to experience Japan with all five senses. Please check out JAPAN HOUSE Los Angeles’ website for the latest information and plan a visit there with family and friends. There are many new discoveries to be made at JAPAN HOUSE Los Angeles, even for people from Japan.


This coming year in Japan will see a succession in the Imperial Throne, with the Abdication of His Majesty the Emperor Akihito and Enthronement of His Imperial Highness the Crown Prince Naruhito. Also, Japan will host the Group of 20 Summit and the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD). The year 2020 will then herald the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020, which Japan will host for the first time in 56 years, since 1964. Japan is committed to being a reliable partner that fulfills its responsibilities and contributes to the international community in many different ways.


Looking at Japan-U.S. relations, the fact that our two nations, once on opposing sides of the battlefield, became strong allies with a deep friendship is a remarkable development in world history. I strongly believe the enduring trust cultivated through the proactive efforts of Japanese nationals, Japanese and Japanese-affiliated companies, and members of the Japanese American community have been a foundation for our strong ties. I would like to express my heartfelt appreciation for their contribution. The Consulate General of Japan will strive to become a beloved presence that does its best to provide services to individuals and lends support to the Japanese-related business community. Let us know your suggestions, and the Consulate General of Japan will work its hardest to fulfill our duties.


Best wishes to all for a happy and healthy new year in 2019!


Akira Chiba
Consul General of Japan in Los Angeles