March 11, 2016 Vol. 12, No. 4

· Video message from the Embassy of Japan

· Tempura with Dashi Broth by Embassy Chefs

· Japan's First Female Destroyer Captain

· Minister Kawazu visited the Virginia State Capitol

· Japan-US Legislative Exchange

Video message from the Embassy of Japan

Dear America,

On March 11, 2011, Japan was struck by a catastrophic earthquake that triggered a tsunami and nuclear power plant failure. We will never forget America's incredible generosity in the midst of this triple disaster.

Five years have passed. With your support, the hardest hit area of Tohoku is coming back strong. Please come visit the people you have helped.

While words cannot adequately express our gratitude, we thank you America.

With great appreciation,

Ken Ichiro Sasae
Ambassador of Japan to the USA

Tempura with Dashi Broth by Embassy Chefs

"This bowl has a kanji character for each season on it," the Embassy Chef explained. "In winter, we make sure that the character for 'winter' is facing the guest," he continued. "It might be hard to see, but each vegetable is only battered halfway and then deep-fried, making the taste lighter and less oily."

The tempura (deep fried shrimp and vegetables) with dashi broth included shrimp covered in dashi and resting on tofu (to make it similar in height to the other tempura), eggplant (with small cuts to ensure it cooks thoroughly in a short amount of time) and shishito peppers.

The tempura is topped with sliced shiraga negi (thin sliced spring onions) and paprika (for color). "We usually use chili peppers cut into strings for this in Japan, but they are not available in the US, so we use paprika instead," the Embassy Chef added.

Japan's First Female Destroyer Captain

In a milestone that reflects Japan's commitment to proactively promoting empowerment for women, the first female destroyer captain has been selected for the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force. On February 29, a ceremony was held for Commander Miho Otani who has been selected as the new commanding officer for the Destroyer YAMAGIRI. This occurred as opportunities for women within the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force have been expanding for roles such as pilots.

Empowerment for women is an important issue for Prime Minister Abe and his cabinet. The Japanese government is setting their goal of increasing the ratio of women in leadership roles to 30% by 2020. Starting this April, businesses with over 301 employees will be required by law to make a plan with a quantitative target for enhancing women empowerment.

Minister Kawazu visited the Virginia State Capitol

Japanese-owned affiliates employed 17,300 people in 2013 in Virginia, which accounted for 10% of all employment created by foreign-owned affiliates, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Statistics like these illustrate why a key to enhancing the Japan-U.S. relationship lies in growing state-level ties. To that end, Economic Minister Kawazu visited Richmond on February 25th, to continue his work to develop the relationship between the Embassy and members of the Virginia General Assembly and Executive Branch.

In the morning, Minister Kawazu visited the Virginia State Capitol, and met with Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam, several Senators and Delegates, including the Speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates William J. Howell. When Minister Kawazu was viewing the session at each of the Senate and Delegate Chambers, Ryan T. McDougle and Delegate David Yancey were kind enough to introduce him to the Senate and the House of Delegates respectively.

In the afternoon, Minister Kawazu was able to meet with the First Lady of Virginia, Ms. Dorothy McAuliffe, Maurice Jones, Secretary of Commerce and Trade and Todd Haymore, Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry to discuss measures to expand and deepen the economic ties.

(Photo: Cabinet Public
Relations Office)

Japan-US Legislative Exchange

Legislative exchange between Japan & the U.S. has been off to a robust start this year. Just this last week, 7 Congressional members visited Okinawa and Tokyo as part of the Congressional Study Group on Japan (CSGJ)'s third study tour of Japan. The CSGJ is an independent, non-partisan and non-advocacy organization that promotes legislative exchange between the U.S. Congress and Japanese Diet.

The delegation included members who were making their first trip to Japan and others who've been there previously: one member was born in Japan, and another used to attend an international high school there! During their stay, the group actively engaged with Japanese government officials and Diet members, including Prime Minister Abe and Foreign Minister Kishida.

Participants on this visit were Congresswoman Diana DeGette (the CSGJ Co-Chair), Congressman Billy Long (CSGJ Co-Chair), Congressman Marsha Blackburn, Congresswoman Niki Tsongas, Rep. Dennis A. Ross, Congressman Robert J. Dold, and Rep. Evan Jenkins.