Japan consulate hosts celebration of emperor’s birthday

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JAPAN’S consul to the CNMI, Kazuhiko Ono, emphasized the importance of maintaining the good relationship between his nation and the Commonwealth by respecting and celebrating their shared history and cultures.

“I would like to further strengthen the bonds between Japan and the CNMI,” he said in his remarks during the celebration of Japanese Emperor Naruhito’s birthday that was hosted by the Japanese Consulate at the Grandvrio Resort on Wednesday.

The emperor will turn 60 on Feb. 23, 2020.

In his remarks, Consul Ono also thanked CNMI officials and other members of the local community who joined the celebration.

“Maintaining and further strengthening the relationship [between Japan and the CNMI] would not be possible without the assistance of each individual here today, so I would like to ask everyone here for your continuous support and cooperation,” he added.

Ono, who arrived on Saipan in May last year, noted the island’s economic slowdown, but added that the launch of Skymark Airlines’ direct Narita-Saipan flights in November was a “remarkable event that brought joy to locals and Japanese residents.”

He said the flight service has received “very positive feedback.”

He said Saipan and Katori City in Chiba Prefecture are currently discussing a possible sister city relationship.

CNMI government officials led by Gov. Ralph DLG Torres join the Japanese community in offering a toast in honor of Emperor Naruhito in the Fiesta Hall of Grandvrio Resort on Wednesday.  Office of the Governor photo

“I hope for a further enhancement of the interaction between our people arising from the establishment of such a relationship,” the consul said.

During the emperor’s birthday celebration, there were booths that offered fine Japanese sake and rice to the guests.

Skymark Airlines had a booth of its own that provided information about its flight service in Japan.

The Pacific Development Inc. booth highlighted the Japan Railway Pass for visitors to Japan.

In his remarks, Gov. Ralph DLG Torres noted that the relationship between the Northern Marianas and Japan is “105 years old this year, and since 1914, our histories, cultures, and lifestyles have remained intertwined. Many of our indigenous Chamorro and Carolinian families can trace their ancestry to Japan, including our Lt. Gov. Arnold I. Palacios whose maternal grandfather is Japanese.”

The governor said Japanese investors and visitors also helped build the NMI tourism industry over 40 years ago.

“Today, Japanese tourism is a top priority in the Marianas, and my administration through [the Marianas Visitors Authority] and [the Commonwealth Ports Authority] will continue to work with our Japanese tourism and airline partners, our local Japanese businesses, and our community on revitalizing this historic and important market,” Torres added.

He said the CNMI’s partnership with Skymark Airlines “is an important one in achieving this goal…. I want to thank Skymark for choosing Saipan, and I look forward to continuing our working relationship as we diversify and recover our economy.”

With the recent outbreak of the novel coronavirus, the governor said the local economy “has been negatively impacted, and our government revenue is projected to drop significantly. Now more than ever, we need to work together to diversify our economy through new industries and to continue promoting the Marianas as a coronavirus-free, world-class destination. Thankfully, as of today, there is no presence of coronavirus in the Marianas.”

November 2020 pssnewsletter

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