On February 21, 2017, I assumed my new post as Consul-General of Japan in Chicago.
Having heard about Chicago’s bitter cold winters, I was most relieved to find an unusually mild winter upon my arrival here.
Last year, the Chicago Cubs clinched a brilliant victory with their first World Series Championship in 108 years. In addition to baseball, Chicago is a thriving center for sports with its hugely popular basketball, football, and ice hockey teams. The city is also famous for its world-class arts and music, including the celebrated Chicago Symphony Orchestra. I am most enthusiastic about my assignment in this city, which has so much to offer.
I am delighted that the ten Midwestern states in our jurisdiction (Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin) are showing development in various fields from manufacturing and agriculture to tourism and finance. Japanese companies are actively expanding here as well.
The Consulate-General will strive to provide the best possible consular services that will contribute to the safety and security of the more than 33,000 Japanese nationals in our 10-state region. For this purpose, we will enhance the services at our Consulate in Chicago, continue to provide remote consular service, and present timely information on our website and by e-mail. We would like to ask for your kind cooperation in this endeavor.
We will further advance our already close Japan-Midwest business partnership by listening to the views and requests of Japanese companies here, and we will offer as much support as possible. About 1,300 Japanese business facilities provide 130,000 direct jobs in our 10-state region. We will do our utmost to convey the importance of their contribution to job creation and local economies, and foster even more cooperation with state officials and area residents.
We will continue to present Japanese culture and actively support our sister city relationships and other grassroots exchanges. Japanese culture is being offered as much as possible in many local areas through Japan festivals and other events. We now have more than 70 sister city partnerships between Japan and the Midwest. I’m most pleased to see the fruits of these exchanges. I’m eager to participate in them and to become acquainted with all of you who are involved.
Our mission could not be accomplished without the cooperation of organizations such as the Japan America societies, Japanese clubs, Japanese American groups, the Chambers of Commerce and Industry, the Midwest U.S.-Japan Association, the Japan External Trade Organization, and sister city committees. I look forward to our continued cooperation as close partners.
On December 1 of this year, our Consulate will celebrate the 120th anniversary of its establishment. We will continue to deepen the economic ties and other exchanges between Japan and the U.S. with an eye toward the future. I will devote myself daily, together with my staff, to have a Consulate that is open and helpful to everyone. I look forward to joining with you in further advancing our friendship, and I welcome your opinions about the role of our Consulate and its services.
Consulate-General of Japan in Chicago
Greetings from Consul-General Naoki Ito
March 8, 2017