Vol. 5, No. 3 (February 9, 2009)
The opinions and materials contained herein do not necessarily represent the views or policies of the Government of Japan.


In this issue

1. Policy Speech by Prime Minister Taro Aso
to the Hundred and Seventy-first Session of the Diet

2. Policy Speech by Minister for Foreign Affairs Hirofumi Nakasone
to the 171st Session of the Diet

3. Special Address by H.E. Mr. Taro Aso, Prime Minister of Japan
on the Occasion of the Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum
"My Prescriptions for Reviving the World Economy"

4. George Aratani Scholarship for Japanese-Americans

5. Greetings from the Japan National Tourism Organization



Policy Speech by Prime Minister Taro Aso
to the Hundred and Seventy-first Session of the Diet


-Prime Minister Taro Aso
(January 28, 2009)


(photo) Prime Minister Taro Aso
The Prime Minister delivers a policy speech (photo: Aso Cabinet Homepage)

This year marks the twenty-first year of the Heisei era. Thus, a full twenty years have passed since the accession of His Majesty the Emperor. Together with the people of Japan, I extend my most sincere

I. The Society to which We Aspire

The world is now on the verge of a new era. As this unfolds, Japan should contribute to the creation of a new order. Meanwhile, Japan itself must also successfully ride the changes in the times. We should aspire to "a society of peace of mind and vitality."

Contributions to the Creation of a New Order

The current financial crisis is said to be a once-in-a-century occurrence. However, a crisis is also an opportunity. Whether a crisis breeds turbulence or opens the way to a new era depends on our handling of it.

We must not forget the lessons of the Great Depression of 1929. Countries around the world put their own national interests above all else and retreated to protectionism. That caused a contraction of the global economy and also led to the Second World War.

Learning from this, countries built cooperative relations after the War. The world economy continued to grow for half a century. Yet, the present crisis demonstrates...

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Policy Speech by Minister for Foreign Affairs Hirofumi Nakasone
to the 171st Session of the Diet

-Foreign Minister Hirofumi Nakasone
(January 28, 2009)

(photo) Foreign Minister Hirofumi Nakasone
Foreign Minister Nakasone

Basic Orientation of Japan's Foreign Policy

I would like to speak about the basic orientation of Japan's foreign policy.

Japan's diplomacy aims at ensuring national interests, namely the security and prosperity of our
country and the lives and property of the Japanese people. The peace and prosperity of the world are essential towards that end, and Japan has great responsibility also in bringing them about. The international community is now facing a serious economic crisis. Moreover, we continue to face a host of challenges that must be addressed immediately, such as international terrorism, an unending stream of regional conflicts, and the urgent issue of climate change. I believe that now is the time for Japan to state its views clearly on various issues and pursue...

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Special Address by H.E. Mr. Taro Aso, Prime Minister of Japan
on the Occasion of the Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum
"My Prescriptions for Reviving the World Economy"

(photo) Prime Minister Taro Aso
Prime Minister Aso delivers a special address. (photo: Aso Cabinet Homepage)

-Prime Minister Taro Aso
Congress Center, Davos, Switzerland
(January 31, 2009)

Founder and Executive Chairman Professor Schwab,
Ladies and gentlemen,

The world economy is now facing a crisis that is said to occur only once a century. Today, I wish to share with you my thoughts on what the world should do, and the role of Japan within that context.

My Conviction

I have a strong conviction:the pursuit of economic prosperity and democracy will lead to peace and happiness. This is the path that Japan has been following since the end of World War II. Economic prosperity gives rise to a new middle class, which then desires still greater freedom, democracy, and peace. Many countries in Asia have also walked down this path. What then happened was the tremendous economic growth and expansion of democracy, although the degree of the latter varies from country to country. I take pride in the fact that by supporting the efforts of Asian countries, Japan played a significant role in this turn of events. As a result of these successful experiences...

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George Aratani Scholarship for Japanese-Americans


(photo) George Aratani, 1936
George Aratani at Keio University in Tokyo, 1936. (photo courtesy of George Aratani)

-Sumio Sakomura
Headmaster of Keio Academy of New York
(February 1, 2009)

Keio Academy of New York is pleased to announce a new scholarship program for Japanese - American students, the ARATANI FOUNDATION NIKKEIJIN - SCHOLARSHIP. This scholarship was made possible through a generous gift from Mr. George Aratani, a Japanese-American businessman and philanthropist, and the founder of the Mikasa Corporation, Kenwood Corporation, and various trading companies. In this article, I would like to relate how this scholarship was established.

The idea for the scholarship came from Mr. Aratani's personal experience as a heritage language learner. He was born in 1917 in Gardena, California and moved to Santa Maria where he completed high school. His father, a first generation nikkei*, told him to study in Japan and Mr. Aratani went to Tokyo in 1935. After 10 months, his Japanese had made such excellent progress that he entered Keio University, where he cultivated a life-long friendship with many Japanese people including the late Dr. Shinzo Koizumi, a distinguished scholar and former president of the University. When Mr. Aratani returned to California to transfer to Stanford, his father was pleased at his son's progress and exclaimed, "Oh, Nihongo ga umaku natta na (Your Japanese has improved a lot!)."

Throughout his trying experience in the internment camp during World War II and his service in the US military, Mr. Aratani always appreciated his opportunity to study in Japan. Therefore, he has been extremely active in contributing to the social welfare of the nikkei community, the preservation and passing on of Japanese cultural heritage, and the promotion of friendship between the United States and Japan . In April 2008, he was awarded the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star by the Japanese government for his contributions.

Keio Academy of New York (KANY) was established in NY State in 1990 by Keio University as its 5th affiliated high school. Our mission is to educate future leaders in the global society by emphasizing bilingual and bicultural educational curriculum. While our school traditionally attracts many students from the international Japanese business community, we are trying to diversify our students' cultural background. KANY hopes to invite the best and brightest Japanese-American students who are willing to master Japanese as their heritage language.

As the only Japanese high school in the United States, Keio Academy has been trying to reach out and contribute to local and Japanese-American communities. In this regard, we have contacted Ambassador Sakurai of the Japanese Consulate in New York as he has been actively promoting heritage language and culture study. The Ambassador expressed his support and appreciation for our plan. We think it is socially meaningful to enhance the chances for Japanese-Americans to learn their heritage language and culture. It will also diversify the student body at Keio Academy and the scholarship recipients will make a big impact on our students in favorable ways. When I met Mr. Aratani last March and told him of the scholarship plan, he was especially pleased that the opportunity is intended for high school students. I strongly hope that those Japanese-American students who wish to learn their ancestors' language and culture will become a true bridge between the United States and Japan.

Successful applicants will be admitted to Keio Academy of New York as 9th or 10th graders and their first full year of tuition and their admission fee will be waived.

For information or inquiries regarding qualifications or the application process, please visit our website or contact us by email or by FAX at (914-694-4830). Please ask for the Admissions Office, Attn. Ms. Matsuki.

*nikkei = of Japanese ancestry

Sumio Sakomura, Headmaster of Keio Academy of New York and Professor at Keio University, Department of Law (English Education), was born in Oita Prefecture in 1948 and moved to Yamaguchi Prefecture at age five. He attended International Christian University and after earning his Bachelors degree in 1970 and Masters degree three years later, he became a full time instructor at the Department of Law, Keio University. In 2002, he established the Keio Foreign Language Research and Education Center.

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Greetings From the Japan National Tourism Organization


(photo) car with Visit Japan Campaign logo
Decorated by designer Hajime Tsutsui, the car of the Hattori Racing Enterprises' racing team bore the Visit Japan Campaign logo in the Lucas Oil Slick Mist 200 race at the Daytona International Speedway on Feb. 7th. (photo: Japan National Tourism Organization)

-Japan National Tourism Organization
New York City, New York
(February 2, 2009)

Have you been to Japan?
Do you want to go to Japan?
Are you planning to visit Japan?

At the Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO), our mission is to show people around the world why the next trip they take should be to Japan. The "Visit Japan Campaign" has set a target of bringing 10 million overseas visitors to Japan by 2010. Although 2/3 of visitors to Japan come from Asia, the U.S. accounts for about 10%, ranking 4th following the Republic of Korea, Taiwan and China. Approximately 770,000 Americans visited Japan in 2008, but that number was down 6% from the previous year, probably due to the dollar's recent poor performance next to the yen.

While the economic situation may not seem to be brightening up any time soon, we believe that Japan has a lot to offer for U.S. travelers, and once the economy starts recovering as the new President promises, the trend will turn upwards.

In the meantime, it's not as hard to see Japan on a budget as you may think. With the Japan Rail Pass, especially for use by overseas visitors to Japan, you can purchase 7 day unlimited train travel throughout the country for only $300. This means you could fly into Narita airport and see some of Tokyo's neighborhoods, then head down to Kyoto for some traditional culture, before making your way to Kyushu for some leisure on the beach, stopping on your way to see the peace memorial in Hiroshima, all for less than cost of a single round trip between New York and Florida. You�fll save even more if you spend your nights at some of Japan's more than 300 youth hostels for only around $35 a night. For adventurous and authentic dining, don't be fooled by the familiar appearance of many family restaurants in Japan; the menus at these restaurants will include traditional Japanese meals you may never have tries or even heard of for under $10. Or, for just a few dollars you can enjoy sushi in its homeland at kaiten-zushi restaurant. Remember, there's no custom of tipping in Japan, so the price you see is the price you pay!

It's easy to find out more about visiting Japan and JNTO is here to help! In addition to our print and online advertisements and the "Visit Japan" website, we also participate in travel shows and hold seminars for consumers and the travel industry. Our office in Manhattan welcomes anybody looking for information and brochures on Japan travel, by walk-in, email and phone. We are also available to speak to your group or club about traveling in Japan.

We'd like to ask your help in spreading the word. If you've enjoyed traveling in Japan in the past, we encourage you to share your experiences with your friends and to write for the JNTO blog or newsletter. Or, if you are a teacher, it might be interesting to talk about Japan with your students. JNTO can provide you with posters, brochures or other materials for the classroom or for anyone who wants to spread the word about travel in Japan.

Of course the most efficient and effective way to support JNTO is to visit Japan for yourself with lots of friends and family!

For more information about Japan and JNTO, please visit www.japantravelinfo.com.


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