Ambassador Roos Visits Okinawa

May 15 - Ambassador John V. Roos recently completed a two day visit to Okinawa to commemorate the 40th anniversary of Okinawa's reversion to Japan. The Ambassador and Okinawa Governor Nakaima reaffirmed the strong ties between the United States and Okinawa and discussed initiatives to develop the next generation of leaders in the enduring friendship between the people of Okinawa and the United States.

Ambassador John V. Roos meets Okinawa Governor Nakaima.

At their meeting, the Ambassador and Governor noted the centennial of the historic gift of 3,000 cherry trees by Japan to Washington, D.C., in 1912. In honor of this historic milestone, the Ambassador announced the gift of dogwood trees to Okinawa as an enduring symbol of friendship. In return, Governor Nakaima announced that Okinawa will donate native Okinawan cherry trees to the United States. This symbolic exchange is consistent with the gift Prime Minister Noda and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced in Washington, D.C., on April 30, of 3,000 dogwood trees to be planted throughout Japan.

Ambassador Roos responds to a student's question at Okinawa International University.

Ambassador Roos applauded the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University (OIST) for its efforts to promote Okinawa as a center of innovation. He also praised the role of OIST-U.S. collaboration in inspiring young Okinawans to pursue scientific, technical, and entrepreneurial careers.

Ambassador Roos met with students from Okinawa International University, encouraging them to study English and consider educational opportunities in the United States. He challenged the students, as future leaders of Okinawa and Japan, to become more engaged in and knowledgeable about the U.S.-Japan relationship and security alliance.

Ambassador Roos with students from Okinawa International University.

Ambassador Roos concluded his visit by attending the ceremony commemorating the 40th anniversary of the reversion of Okinawa to Japan. In his speech, he reaffirmed the United States' commitment to strengthening the people-to-people ties between the United States and Okinawa and ensuring that the relationship will continue to be one of the greatest sources of strength to the Alliance and to the future of both nations.