DCM Tong Expresses Appreciation for 100 Years of Friendship During Centennial Sakura Ceremony

Japanese Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba and Deputy Chief of Mission Kurt Tong

April 2 - Deputy Chief of Mission Kurt Tong thanked Japan on the occasion of the centennial celebration of the gift of cherry trees from the Mayor of Tokyo to Washington, D.C. at a Ministry of Foreign Affairs-sponsored festival on March 31.

In his remarks, delivered on behalf of Ambassador John V. Roos, DCM Tong said: "The cherry trees in D.C. are a living symbol of the bonds between our countries." Mr. Tong also mentioned how the United States has established a reciprocal gift of 3,000 American dogwood trees to be planted throughout Japan, and highlighted the TOMODACHI Initiative.

Foreign Minister Gemba delivered remarks thanking the United States for nurturing the trees and the U.S.-Japan friendship over the last 100 years. In addition, members of AKB48, one of Japan's best-known pop groups, reported on their recent participation in the Sakura Festival in Washington, D.C, followed by musical performances from the military bands of both Japan and the United States.