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
Statement by Prime Minister Taro Aso on the inauguration of
-Cabinet Press Release
Ambassador Fujisaki's Impressions on the Inauguration of President Barack Obama
-Ambassador Ichiro Fujisaki
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...
Telephone Conversation between Prime Minister Taro Aso
|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
(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...
Telephone Conversation between Foreign Minister Nakasone
and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
|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.
|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...
Executive General Manager
Events & Sales Promotion
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.
Sales in Japan for a collection of Obama's speeches among different age groups and between men and women (source: Kinokuniya Company, Ltd.)
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.)
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.)
|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
(January 23, 2009)
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