With the inauguration of a new President, 2017 was a year of big change for the United States. In the areas surrounding North Korea, it was a year of tension. Close contact between Japan and the U.S. at every level has furthered mutual understanding between our two countries, particularly thanks to Prime Minister Abe’s state visit to the U.S. and President Trump’s return visit to Japan on his Asia tour. Japan and the United States, working together, have made of lot of progress with the international community on resolutions to address the North Korean issues. In 2018, the Government of Japan will continue its coordination with the international community, and the Japan-U.S. alliance will be the centerpiece of those efforts. We will continue to contribute to the peace and prosperity of the Asia-Pacific region and the rest of the world.
One thing indispensable to achieving international peace and mutual understanding is the importance of building trust at the grassroots level. The Japan-U.S. alliance goes far beyond official channels. It relies on the extensive network of people-to-people exchange between Americans and Japanese. To that end, the Japanese government is currently pursuing a variety of programs to discover and nurture the next generation of enthusiastic supporters who will carry our close relationship into the future.
My humble prayer for all of you in 2018 is this will be a year of great happiness, and that both Japan and the United States will have an excellent year filled with hope.
Ambassador of Japan to the United States