"The World and Japan" Database (Project Leader: TANAKA Akihiko)
Database of Japanese Politics and International Relations
National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS); Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia (IASA), The University of Tokyo

[Title] Speech by Ms. KAMIKAWA Yoko, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, at the Welcome Reception for the Participants of the 63rd Convention of Nikkei and Japanese Abroad

[Date] October 16, 2023
[Source] Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan
[Full text]

Konbanwa! Good evening! Buenas noches! Boa noite!

I am KAMIKAWA Yoko and was appointed as the Minister of Foreign Affairs last month.

It is my great pleasure to welcome so many overseas Japanese and Japanese descendants (Nikkei) from around the world to today's reception, which is my first reception to host as the Minister of Foreign Affairs, on the occasion of the 63rd Convention of Nikkei and Japanese Abroad, held in person for the first time in four years. I am encouraged to know that you are all very active in respective fields.

There are many Nikkei living in my hometown Shizuoka Prefecture, especially in Hamamatsu City, which counts the largest Nikkei community in Japan.

From 1868, the year of the so-called "Gannenmono (Meiji era first-year emigrants)", to the present day, more than 150 years of long history have been recorded. My motto is "Ho-Tei-Ban-Ri", which means to look far into the distance with high ideals.

I believe that all of you, as well as your ancestors, who emigrated to various parts of the world before and after the war have earned the trust and the respect towards Nikkei and Nikkei communities by overcoming many hardships and made great contributions to the development of respective countries through your diligence with the aspiration of "Ho-Tei-Ban-Ri".

Today, Nikkei have grown to 8th generations and been successful in various fields around the world as well as in Japan, contributing to the enhancement of Japan's presence in the world.

I remember that when I visited South America, I was impressed to witness how the younger generation of Nikkei have inherited the good old Japanese traditions in their daily lives, which are almost forgotten by the Japanese people today. Nikkei are a treasure for Japan, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will further strengthen its ties with Nikkei communities.

Back in nearly three decades ago during my study abroad in the U.S., I was motivated to become a politician through a precious experience of observing Japan from abroad. It opened my eyes to clearly see the advantage and shortage of Japan, and made me determined to reform Japan to a better country.

Nikkei here today are precisely the one who have been continuously observing Japan from abroad. I look forward to hearing your views as much as time permits.

I would like to conclude my speech by sincerely wishing you all a meaningful stay in Japan, as well as your continued good health and prosperity.