August 13, 2015 Vol. 11, No. 2

· G7 Foreign Minister's Meeting

· Japan-U.S. Summit Meeting

· G7 Summit 2015 in Schloss Elmau

· The National Cherry Blossom Festival 2015

· 2015 Passport DC Around the World Embassy Tour

· Golden Triangle Farragut Fridays Origami Workshop

(Photo: Ministry of
Foreign Affairs)

G7 Foreign Minister's Meeting

-Ministry of Foreign Affairs
April 16, 2015

The G7 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting was held in Lubeck, Germany on Tuesday, April 14 and Wednesday, April 15. The meeting was attended by the Foreign Ministers of the G7 countries and the High Representative of the EU. Mr. Fumio Kishida, Minister for Foreign Affairs, attended from Japan. After the meeting, the G7 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting Communiqué, the G7 Foreign Ministers’ Declaration on Maritime Security, ‘‘Beyond Ebola: a G7 agenda to help prevent future crises and enhance security in Africa’’ and the G7 Statement on Non-Proliferation and Disarmament, respectively, were released.

(Photo: Ministry of
Foreign Affairs)

Japan-U.S. Summit Meeting

-Ministry of Foreign Affairs
April 28, 2015

On April 28, commencing at 9:50 a.m. for approximately two hours during his official visit to Washington D.C., Prime Minister Shinzo Abe held a Japan-U.S. Summit Meeting with the Honorable Barack H. Obama, President of the United States of America. Below is the overview. As a result of this meeting, the following documents were issued: (1) The Japan-U.S. Joint Vision Statement, (2) The Japan-U.S. Joint Statement on the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), and (3) FACT SHEET: Japan-U.S. Cooperation for a More Prosperous and Stable World.

(Photo: Ministry of
Foreign Affairs)

G7 Summit 2015 in Schloss Elmau

-Ministry of Foreign Affairs
June 8, 2015

On June 7 and 8, the G7 Summit 2015 was held in Schloss Elmau, Germany. The following documents were released: Leaders' Declaration G7 Summit and ¬†Annex to the Leaders' Declaration G7 Summit. Chancellor Angela Merkel of the Federal Republic of Germany; Prime Minister Matteo Renzi of the Republic of Italy; Prime Minister Stephen Harper of Canada; President François Hollande of the French Republic; President Barack Obama of the United States of America; Prime Minister David Cameron of the United Kingdom; President Donald Tusk of the European Council; President Jean-Claude Juncker of the European Commission; and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan participated in the Summit.

Performers take a bow
at the conclusion of
the Opening Ceremony

The National Cherry Blossom Festival 2015

-Embassy of Japan

The 2015 National Cherry Blossom Festival was held from March 20 to April 12 this spring. It marked the 103rd anniversary of the gift of the cherry trees from Tokyo Mayor Yukio Ozaki in 1912, and the 100th anniversary of America's reciprocal gift of flowering dogwood trees in 1915 to the people of Japan. Dozens of events and concerts filled the days and brought a close-up look at Japanese culture to thousands of DC residents and tourists.

On March 21, performances from Misato Watanabe, Manami Morita, AUN-J Classic Orchestra and bossa nova singer Deborah Bond officially opened the festival at the Warner Theater. There were also three concerts held at the Kennedy Center's Millenium Stage by Japanese artists, as well as the Japanese Jazz Series presented by the Embassy of Japan at Blues Alley with four performances by Japanese groups.

Cherry Blossom Princesses
gather for a picture under
the budding trees at the
Ambassador's Residence

Amongst the many family-friendly events held during the festival's run, several stand out for their popularity and impact. The Blossom Kite Festival on the Mall, the Southwest Waterfront Fireworks Festival, the Performance Stage at the Tidal Basin, and the National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade drew enormous crowds and provided hours of fun to people of all ages. The Sakura Matsuri Street Festival saw a record attendance of 45,000 visitors looking to experience the largest Japanese cultural street festival in America. There was even an MLB Blossoms and Baseball exhibition game played at Nationals Park, with the first pitch thrown by Japanese Ambassador Kenichiro Sasae.

The CineMatsuri event appeared on the schedule again this year at the E Street Cinema, showcasing five of Japan's best recent films from a variety of genres. CineMatsuri began in 2014 and is the first Japanese Film Festival to be held in Washington, DC. The Japan Information and Culture Center supported the film screenings, and also put on a gallery exhibit showcasing the work of young Japanese photo-artist Tokio Kuniyoshi.

Several symbolic events returned to the festival, such as the Cherry Blossom Freedom Walk honoring the patriotism of Japanese-Americans during World War II, and the Official Japanese Stone Lantern Lighting Ceremony, in which the stone lantern gifted to Washington, DC in 1954 was lit by the Japanese Embassy Princess.

The blossoms peaked just in time for the end of the festival, signaling the start of spring in the nation’s capital. 2015’s successful festival would not have been possible without the help of many organizations, staff and volunteers. The spirit of friendship and cooperation symbolized by the cherry trees continues to live strong.

(Photo: JICC)

2015 Passport DC Around the World Embassy Tour

-Japan Information and Culture Center, Embassy of Japan

For nearly a decade the Embassy of Japan has participated in Cultural Tourism DC’s Passport DC program. As part of the Around the World Embassy Tour, held the first two weekends of May, the embassies around Washington, D.C. display the best of their countries’ culture, science, food, and hospitality. On Saturday, May 2nd, the Embassy of Japan once again opened its doors to the public to bring Japan to America.

Guests that came were treated to a wide variety of attractions from the moment they stepped into the courtyard. An electric car from Toyota and a new jet engine from Honda framed the door of the historic Old Ambassador’s Residence. Inside a display of photography from Japanese photographer Tokio Kuniyoshi was on display, right next to the latest models of Canon digital cameras. The therapeutic robot Paro was there for all to see, next to displays from JST and JAXA, as well as representatives from JR and a proposed maglev train for the American East Coast. Hitachi delighted guests with a demonstration of its cutting edge electron microscope, projecting its images onto a big screen for all to see. Honda also contributed a video of its Asimo robot, and the Japan Rail Modelers of Washington put on a show with its collection of model Japanese trains.

Outside in the courtyard, the Okinawa-kai of Washington, D.C. performed eisa dance and feats of karate prowess while guests enjoyed free Japanese snacks like yakitori and mochi ice cream, provided by soy sauce manufacturer, San-J.

Every spring, we at the Embassy of Japan eagerly await our generous friends’ contributions to the event, and we very much enjoy providing the public the opportunity to see them. We always end the weekend tired, satisfied, and eager to start on the next year’s plans. We look forward to bringing you more programs in the coming years!

(Photo: JICC)

Golden Triangle Farragut Fridays Origami Workshop

-Japan Information and Culture Center, Embassy of Japan

On Friday, June 5th, the Japan Information and Culture Center (JICC) participated in the Golden Triangle BID’s Farragut Fridays with a special pop-up origami table.

For two hours, the JICC joined Washingtonians on their lunch break in Farragut Square Park and taught people how to fold origami. Participants could choose from three different levels, from simple to challenging. There was even an extra lesson in how to fold a penguin, which we first demonstrated at the JICC World Origami Days exhibition last year. Despite the overcast weather, many people joined us under the tents to learn paper folding and look at the origami zoo we had on display.

We were also joined by special guests DC Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes-Norton and Director Bob Vogel of the National Parks Services. The most popular origami we had on display were the flapping bird and the modular firework, both of which were moveable. The event was a big success and we look forward to participating in more pop-up events like this around the DC area.