Consul-General Ono Visited Utah (April 27, Friday, April 28, Saturday, 2012)
On April 27, Consul General Ono visited Utah Governor Gary Herbert, Salt Lake County Mayor Peter Corroon, and Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker.
To each of these local chief executives, Consul General Ono expressed his gratitude for their support concerning the Great East Japan Earthquake and also conveyed his willingness to strengthen relationships between these local governments and Japan, explaining that this year marks the centennial anniversary of the gift of the cherry blossom trees from Japan to the United States, and commemorative cherry trees have been planted in Utah along with other states.
In a meeting with Governor Herbert, the Governor expressed his wish to enhance a cooperative relationship between Utah and Japan. He was also very grateful for the cherry blossom trees that were given to Utah, and recognized the trees as testament of friendship.
On the same day, County Mayor Corroon spoke of the contribution of Japanese American Community to the County administration, mentioning that two of the seven county council members are Japanese American, as well as a former Deputy Mayor having Japanese ancestor. He also expressed his wish to enhance their sister city relationship between Magna, Salt Lake County and Yuzawa Cho, Niigata Prefecture that will be signed in 2012.
When Consul General met with City Mayor Becker, the Mayor referred to their strong relationship with Japan, such as their sister city relationship with Matsumoto City, Nagano prefecture that has been active for over 50 years. He expressed his desire of cooperating with Japan in the area of renewable energy.
On April 28, the Consul-General attended the 7th annual Nihon Matsuri (Japan Festival) at the Old Japan Town in downtown Salt Lake City. Marion Hori, the festival's chairperson, announced that five cherry blossom trees were given to the Old Japan Town by Japanese Government through the Consulate-General of Japan in Denver. The Festival was crowded, and not only by Japanese and Japanese Americans. This shows the festival has become deeply rooted as a local community event.
Festival-goers enjoyed demonstrations of Japanese traditional cultures such as the tea ceremony and Taiko drumming. They also enjoyed “cosplay” performaces, which is an act wearing costumes of characters from anime or manga. There was also a historical exhibit introducing the museum project for WW2 Japanese American internment camps.