Vol. 5, No. 2 (February 2, 2008)
The opinions and materials contained herein do not necessarily represent the views or policies of the Government of Japan.

 

In this issue

1. Statement by Prime Minister Taro Aso on the inauguration of
President Obama as President of the United States of America

2. Ambassador Fujisaki's Impressions on the Inauguration of President Barack Obama

3. Telephone Conversation between Prime Minister Taro Aso
and Mr. Barack Obama, President of the United States

4. Telephone Conversation between Foreign Minister Nakasone
and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

5. Japanese Newspaper Commentaries on US President Obama's Inauguration

6. Obama's Books are a Hit in Japan

7. Submission of a report to Foreign Minister Nakasone by the Members of
"The Advisory Panel for the Coming Global Economy and theJapan-U.S. Economic Relationship"

 


 

Statement by Prime Minister Taro Aso on the inauguration of
President Obama as President of the United States of America

 

(photo) the U.S. capitol on inauguration day
Barack Obama was sworn in as the 44th President of the United States on January 20th. (Photo: Whitehouse.gov)

 

-Cabinet Press Release
(January 21, 2009)

  1. On behalf of the Government of Japan, I would like to extend my heartfelt congratulations on the inauguration of President Obama.
  2. President Obama was elected with wide range of support from American people. I believe President Obama will exercise outstanding leadership and achieve great success, leading his distinguished team on each field including foreign policy, national security, economy, environment/energy, in overcoming the serious economic situations and other difficult challenges.
  3. Japan and the United States are allies sharing the universal values and the strategic interests. I am confident that Japan and the United States, which are in the position of leading the world, can create a better future, by putting together our expertise, will, passion and strategy. With this conviction, I intend to work hand in hand with President Obama, to further strengthen the Japan-U.S. alliance, and make efforts towards the peace and prosperity of the Asia-Pacific region and the world.

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Ambassador Fujisaki's Impressions on the Inauguration of President Barack Obama


(photo) Ambassador Fujisaki attends the swearing in
Ambassador Ichiro Fujisaki attends the swearing in of President Barack Obama.

-Ambassador Ichiro Fujisaki
(January 21, 2009)

 

What is your impression of this inauguration? When asked, a friend of mine quipped: "Cold weather, warm atmosphere." I think this answer perfectly sums up the day.

As everyone knows, the weather was a big part of the day. Even my Scandinavian colleagues were shivering. The temperature was around 20 degrees, but with the wind, it dropped to around 16 degrees. We were provided blankets, but I had already brought some Japanese-made instant heat packs and shared them with my African colleagues.

As Ambassadors representing our respective countries, we were given the honor of being seated on the steps of the Capitol during the Inaugural. We were lucky enough to be seated only 80 yards from the President.

While I will remember how cold it was, I am certain that I will remember more the spectacular view from the Capitol and the sea of people assembled on the Mall. Reportedly, one out of every 150 Americans were there. They came from all over the country to be a part of history. It was evident that...

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Telephone Conversation between Prime Minister Taro Aso
and Mr. Barack Obama, President of the United States


(photo) President Obama's inauguration
Barack Obama was sworn in as the 44th President of the United States on January 20th. (photo by Ambassador Ichiro Fujisaki)

-Ministry of Foreign Affairs Press Release
(January 29th, 2009)

For about 10 minutes from 8:10 a.m. on Thursday, January 29 (JST), Prime Minister Taro Aso received a telephone call from Mr. Barack Obama, President of the United States and held a brief telephone conversation. The gist of the conversations is as follows...

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Telephone Conversation between Foreign Minister Nakasone
and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

 

(photo) Secretary of State Clinton takes the oath of office
Hillary Rodham Clinton was sworn in as U.S. Secretary of State on January 21st. (Photo: U.S. Department of State)

-Ministry of Foreign Affairs Press Release
(January 23rd, 2009)

For about 15 minutes from 8 am on January 23 (6 pm on January 22, EST (her first working day)), Mr. Hirofumi Nakasone, Minister for Foreign Affairs, received a telephone call from Mrs. Hillary Clinton, Secretary of State of the United States. The gist of the conversation is as follows.

  1. In response to Mr. Nakasone's congratulations on her appointment as the Secretary of State, Mrs. Clinton
    said that the Japan-U.S. alliance was a cornerstone of the U.S. policy toward Asia, and expected to work
    together in addressing the issues which the international community was facing with.
  2. Mr. Nakasone and Mrs. Clinton also agreed to strengthen the cooperative relations between the two countries, especially in the following three points...

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Japanese Newspaper Commentaries on US President Obama's Inauguration

 

(photo) presidential inaugural parade
The presidential inaugural parade moves down Pennsylvania Avenue on January 20th. The inauguration of President Barack Obama made headlines in Japan and around the world. (Department of Defense photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd David Coleman, U.S. Navy)

-Japan Brief, No. 0904
(January 22nd, 2009)

On January 20 (January 21 Japan time) Barack Obama was inaugurated as the forty-fourth president of the United States, becoming the first ever African American president of the country. The Japanese media reported the historical inauguration ceremony prominently and in detail. While expressing their hopes of the new president, the main newspapers also focused their attention on such issues as how the new US administration would handle the unprecedented economic crisis and what policy it would adopt toward Japan.

Prime Minister Aso: "Further strengthen Japan-US alliance hand in hand with President Obama"

President Obama's inauguration ceremony was broadcast live on television in Japan by the public Japan Broadcasting Corporation (NHK) and commercial television networks. Although the ceremony took place after 2 a.m. on January 21 Japan time, the NHK broadcast recorded an audience rating of 5.9% (6.7% in the Kansai region), which is unusually high for that hour and shows the great interest that the Japanese people have in President Obama. On January 21 the main newspapers reported on the inauguration ceremony as the top story in both...

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Obama's Books are a Hit in Japan

-Eiichi Ichihashi
Executive General Manager
Public Relations
Events & Sales Promotion
Retail Division
KINOKUNIYA COMPANY, LTD.

(January 26, 2009)

America is not the only country in which books about President Obama are disappearing from the shelves. Readers in Japan are buying up a wide variety of Barack Obama-related titles, including the Japanese translations of his memoirs, "The Audacity of Hope" and "Dreams From My Father," which were published consecutively in December of 2007 and have sold 60,000 and 40,000 copies, respectively, making them the 2nd and 3rd best-selling of all the "Obama books."

But even their popularity is dwarfed by the success of a collection of Obama's speeches published in Japan shortly after his election as the 44th President of the United States. Sales of the collection have surged, with the week leading up to the President's January 20th inauguration seeing 3 times the sales of an average week. In fact, just 2 months after the book hit stores, as many as 400,000 copies are in print.

The collection spans from the keynote address delivered at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, to Obama's Victory Speech following Election Day. The volume includes a detailed glossary and complete corresponding Japanese translations, as well President Obama's own voice bringing the speeches to life on the enclosed CD.

Interestingly, consumers in their 30s and 40s, who normally account for the smallest percentage of book sales, make up nearly half of the collection's total sales, as can be seen in the graph below. Gender does not seem to be a factor in the popularity of this orator's work either; sales are divided equally between men and women. It seems that Obama's ability to speak to people across demographic divides, as he did in winning several traditionally Republican states in his bid for the presidency, holds true in Japan as well at home.

New York Kinokuniya Bookstores opened their doors in Rockefellar Center in 1981. Mr. Eiichi Ichihashi has served as the Vice President and General Manager and has been with the company for 21 years.

(photo) collection of Obama's speechessales of the collection by agesales of the collection between men and women
Sales in Japan for a collection of Obama's speeches among different age groups and between men and women (source: Kinokuniya Company, Ltd.)

 

(photo) "The Audacity of Hope"sales of "The Audacity of Hope" by agesales of "The Audacity of Hope" between men and women
Sales in Japan for Barack Obama's memoir, "The Audacity of Hope" among different age groups and between men and women (source: Kinokuniya Company, Ltd.)

 

(photo) "Dreams From my Father"sales of "Dreams From my Father" by agesales of "Dreams From my Father" between men and women
Sales in Japan for Barack Obama's memoir, "Dreams From my Father" among different age groups and between men and women (source: Kinokuniya Company, Ltd.)

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Submission of a report to Foreign Minister Nakasone by the Members of
"The Advisory Panel for the Coming Global Economy
and theJapan-U.S. Economic Relationship"

GDP of major industrialized countries
Japan and the United States make up over a third of the GDP of major industrialized countries. The economic relationship between these two nations remains as important as ever as the U.S. moves into a new administration. (data based on the World Bank's "World Development Indicators database 2007")

-Ministry of Foreign Affairs Press Release
(January 23, 2009)

  1. Friday 23rd January, 5:30pm, Foreign Minister Nakasone met with members of "The Advisory Panel for the coming global economy and the Japan-U.S. economic relationship" and received a report "Proposal for the construction of the future Japan-U.S. economic relationship under the new U.S. administration" which was compiled of proposals by the panel for the Japanese economic diplomacy toward the U.S. based on the launch of the new Obama administration.
  2. On this occasion, Foreign Minister Nakasone commented that he heard the panel had been discussing very eagerly, and thanked for receiving such proposal on an appropriate timing with the inauguration of the new Obama administration. Foreign Minister Nakasone also told the members that he just had a telephone conversation in the morning with Mrs. Hillary Clinton, Secretary of State of the U.S., and that...

 

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