On Friday and Saturday, April 29-30th, Consul-General Ito visited Utah and met with the Salt Lake City Mayor and attended the 11th Annual Nihon Matsuri (Japan Festival) held on Japantown Street in downtown Salt Lake City.
On the 29th, the Consul-General paid a courtesy visit to Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski. He offered his congratulations to the Mayor on winning the election and explained about the Japanese government's policies on the advancement of women. He also said he wishes to contribute to strengthening relations between the region including Salt Lake City and Japan such as in the field of economy. In reply, Mayor Biskupski said Salt Lake City and Japan are intertwined by fate and she also would like to cooperate in the future, especially since Utah has a prospering Japanese-American community.
At the festival on the 30th, Consul-General Ito offered congratulatory remarks on the festival's 11th year and said he hopes for stronger relations between the Japan-related communities through the festivals. The festival itself featured Japanese taiko drums and koto performances, Judo and Iaido (drawing of Japanese sword) demonstrations, a cosplay competition, and various food stalls. It was a very lively event with many Japanese, Japanese-American and non-Japanese people attending. There was also an exhibit showcasing the history of Japanese people following the construction of the Trans-American Railroad, World War II Japanese Internment Camp site preservation projects, and Japanese-American history. The exhibit was very popular with many festival attendees stopping by throughout the day.