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Regional News

News Archives - February 2011

Promoting Innovation and Entrepreneurship: Opportunities for U.S.-Japan Cooperation
Feb. 28 - As part of the U.S.-Japan Dialogue to Promote Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Job Creation, the U.S. Department of State and Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry organized a symposium on "Promoting Innovation and Entrepreneurship: Opportunities for U.S.-Japan Cooperation" at Stanford University on Feb. 23 to examine how entrepreneurship and venture companies contribute to economic growth, as well as to share views on opportunities for private sector cooperation between Japan and the United States in emerging sectors such as clean technology. U.S. and Japanese government representatives subsequently convened a second meeting of the Dialogue on Feb. 24, also at Stanford. [State Department Media Note]

Ambassador Roos Visits JAXA Space Center
Feb. 25 - Touring the facilities of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) Tsukuba Space Center on Feb. 18, Ambassador John V. Roos congratulated JAXA officials on their successful International Space Station missions and stated his support for continued space exploration cooperation with Japan. He highlighted civil space as an example of successful U.S.-Japan cooperation in science and technology. Founded in 1972, the Tsukuba Space Center is responsible for Japan's human spaceflight, Earth observation satellite, space transportation, and space communication programs.
Meeting with Foreign Minister Maehara at MOFA

Ambassador Roos and Astronaut Chiaki Mukai (Photo courtesy of JAXA)

Meeting with Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano at the Kantei

Ambassador Roos with JAXA officials, including President Keiji Tachikawa, Kuniaki Shiraki, Masanori Homma and Dr. Mukai (Photo courtesy of JAXA)

U.S. Response to Earthquake in New Zealand
Feb. 24 - On Feb. 23, President Obama called New Zealand Prime Minister Key to express deep condolences over the devastating earthquake that struck Christchurch, and to reaffirm the offer of American assistance, noting that a U.S. search and rescue team was on its way to New Zealand and that the United States was ready to provide whatever further support was needed. The Department of State alerted U.S. citizens to the devastation, conveying the message that New Zealand government agencies are advising against any non-essential travel to Christchurch at this time.

Strengthening Educational Exchanges between Japan and the United States

2011 Symposium Series on Strengthening Educational Exchanges
Feb. 23 - The U.S. Embassy is pleased to announce our 2011 Symposium Series, "Strengthening Educational Exchanges between Japan and the United States." "U.S. Higher Education and Best Practices among Japanese Universities" will launch the symposium on Feb. 28 at Meiji University and address what Japanese educators and students can do to reverse the declining number of Japanese students studying in the U.S. "Applying to Both Japanese and U.S. Universities and Career Possibilities after Studying in the U.S." will be held at the Embassy on March 11 and the Kansai American Center on March 25 and will demonstrate the merits of studying at U.S. universities with presentations by experts from Fulbright Japan, Benesse Corporation, and Recruit. "America Now" on March 16 at the Embassy will connect Japanese students via Internet-based video with young Japanese professionals in Los Angeles to discuss what it is like to live and work in America's multicultural environment. Please see the links above for more information.

Secretary Clinton speaks about an open, secure Internet accessible to all.

Choices & Challenges in a Networked World
Feb. 16 - In a Feb. 15 speech in Washington titled "Internet Rights and Wrongs: Choices & Challenges in a Networked World," Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urged countries everywhere to "join us in the bet we have made, a bet that an open Internet will lead to stronger, more prosperous countries." She continued, "At its core, it's an extension of the bet that the United States has been making for more than 200 years, that open societies give rise to the most lasting progress, that the rule of law is the firmest foundation for justice and peace, and that innovation thrives where ideas of all kinds are aired and explored."

Vice-Minister Yamahana greets some of the Ambassadors and other Embassy representatives.

Urging Japan to Ratify the Hague Abduction Convention
Feb. 16 - The Ambassadors of Canada, the European Union, France, Hungary, Italy, New Zealand, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America, the Political Counselor of the Embassy of Australia, and the Consul of Colombia, called on Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Ikuo Yamahana on Feb. 9 to express the importance they continue to attach to the issue of international parental child abduction, and to once again urge Japan to ratify the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction and implement measures to enable parents currently separated from their children to maintain contact with them, ensure visitation rights, and resolve their cases. The group issued a press release later which stated in part, "We look forward to Japan reaching a positive decision to ratify the Convention as soon as possible."

Ambassador Susan Jacobs met Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Ikuo Yamahana on Feb. 7 (photo courtesy of the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

State Department Special Advisor for Children’s Issues Visits Japan
Feb. 15 - Ambassador Susan Jacobs, Special Advisor for Children's Issues in the Department of State, visited Japan for meetings Feb. 7-8 to answer questions regarding the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. She met with officials in the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Justice, Diet members, American parents who have been denied access to their children, the press, and non-governmental organizations. The United States has urged Japan to ratify the Hague Abduction Convention and join the 84 signatory countries in combating international parental child abduction. The Convention protects the best interests of the child by providing a mechanism to resolve custodial issues by rule of law, while striving to ensure that a child has access to both parents.

Ambassador Roos spoke with young entrepreneurs about their ideas at the Keio Fujisawa Innovation Village in December 2010. (photo by Susumu Ishito)

"American View" Issue on Innovation and Entrepreneurship
Feb. 3 - As both Ambassador Roos and President Obama have emphasized, the benefits of an improved entrepreneurial environment include greater economic dynamism, new business and job creation, higher productivity, access to global markets, and the diffusion of new technologies to tackle problems such as health care and climate change. Please take a look at our articles and related video clips in this new issue of "American View," focusing on innovation and entrepreneurship:

Video clips on YouTube:

  • Interviews from the APEC Women's Entrepreneurship Summit (3:41)
  • Secretary of State Clinton's message to a symposium organized by Yokohama City (1:24)
  • Images from the Tokyo American Center's entrepreneurship fair (1:14)

Situation in Egypt
Feb. 1 - President Barack Obama made a number of calls to foreign leaders Jan. 29-30 to discuss the ongoing situation in Egypt. The President "reiterated his focus on opposing violence and calling for restraint; supporting universal rights, including the right to peaceful assembly, association, and speech; and supporting an orderly transition to a government that is responsive to the aspirations of the Egyptian people."

Message about Volcanic Eruption
Feb. 1 - The Embassy's American Citizen Services unit issued a message this morning to alert U.S. citizens residing in or traveling to Miyazaki and Kagoshima Prefectures in Japan that the Japan Meteorological Agency has issued a Level 3 warning for residents near Mount Shinmoe. A Level 3 warning means that the volcano should not be approached and that an eruption that could cause damage and threat to life is possible in the surrounding areas. [Full text]