Under Secretary Sonenshine Celebrates the U.S.-Japan Alliance

Nov. 16 - Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Tara D. Sonenshine celebrated the enduring friendship between the United States and Japan during her Nov. 15-17 visit to Japan.

Along with Acting Tokyo Governor Naoki Inose, the Under Secretary commemorated the American gift of 3,000 dogwood trees to the people of Japan in a ceremony in Yoyogi Park in Tokyo: "Future generations will enjoy the shade of these trees for as long as we can foresee. They symbolize a friendship that is already strong and enduring. We see that every day, in the flow of people between our countries, whether they are students coming to study at our universities, or the 3.2 million Japanese tourists who visited the United States last year."

The Under Secretary also visited Oita Prefecture, encouraging students at the Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University to pursue study opportunities in the United States: "... the United States is betting on people like you. We are betting because we have already seen what the alumni of our educational exchanges go on to do. They work for better communities and stronger economies. They work to influence their governments in democratic directions, to support and guarantee freedom of religion and expression, to fight for political and economic transparency and equal opportunity."

In Tokyo, the Under Secretary participated in an interactive, online discussion with students across Japan and inaugurated the first American Shelf book collection in Tokyo in the Hibiya Public Library: "The partnership we inaugurate today represents more than a shelf of donated books; our partnership represents a shared value between our two countries—the shared belief that access to information and ideas gives strength to a community, and certain knowledge that increased partnership and mutual understanding between the United States and Japan benefits both countries enormously."