Spotlight: Ambassador of Japan to the U.S., Kenichiro Sasae
Interview with His Excellency Kenichiro Sasae, Ambassador of Japan to the United States of America
How does your Embassy work to grow and strengthen international relationships?
Our Embassy is on the front line of the relationship between Japan and the United States. We work with Japan-America societies and communities as well as national security, economic, and cultural exchange organizations on all issues across all levels, from federal to local. Our Embassy is supported by a network of 17 Consulates throughout the United States.
As Ambassador between your country and the United States, what has your greatest accomplishment been and/or what do you most hope to accomplish to strengthen sub-national diplomacy?
I, myself, and our Consulates throughout the U.S. are working to strengthen state-to-state and city-to-city ties, including through economic and cultural exchanges. The Embassy of Japan in Washington, DC is engaged with the states of Virginia and Maryland, and one of our accomplishments is strengthening the relationship between Japan and those states over the last year. I believe strong state-to-state and city-to-city relationships are the basis of strong country-to-country ties.
For this reason, I receive many state legislators and business people at my Residence. I’d like to further strengthen sub-national diplomacy by developing our sister city relationships.
Have you worked with a sister city program in the past? If yes, which cities did you work with and what types of exchanges did you partake in?
The United States and Japan have a total of 432 sister city relationships. It is our goal to nurture these relationships while also developing new ones. For this reason, it will be my privilege to host a reception at my Residence in conjunction with Sister Cities International’s 60th Annual Conference.
For example, within the jurisdiction of the Embassy of Japan, there is a sister state relationship between Maryland and Kanagawa Prefecture, and sister city relationships between Baltimore and Kawasaki City, Norfolk (Virginia) and Kita-Kyushu City, and Richmond (Virginia) and Saitama City. I want to personally contribute to further state-to-state and city-to-city exchanges that will strengthen the relationship between our countries.