2016 National Day Reception (December 14, 2016)

                      American national anthem       Japanese national anthem                    Remarks by                                  Remarks by
                                  perfomance                             performance                        Consul-Genreal Ito                      Lt. Governor Lynne
                               Toast                                    Flower arrangement                    Sushi rolls made with                   Japanese companies' booth 
                                                                               by Sogetsu Scho                    first harvest Japanese rice                   (before doors opened)
     On Wednesday, December 14th, the 2016 National Day Reception hosted by Consul-General and Mrs. Ito was held at the Four Seasons Hotel in Downtown Denver.
     Approximately 350 guests attended the reception including prominent Colorado figures such as Lieutenant Governor Donna Lynne and Denver Mayor Michael Hancock as well as local government and business affiliates and Japanese company affiliates.
     For the opening ceremony, the American national anthem was performed by 1st Lieutenant Christopher Dong and Master Sergeant Jonathan Lubuguin from Buckley Air Force Base and the Japanese national anthem was performed by opera singer Mrs. Chiaki Okuyama followed by remarks from Consul-General Ito. The Consul-General said 2016 was a breakthrough year for U.S.-Japan relations and that he has great hopes for further development in the relationship. He also mentioned the increased number of mutual visits by dignitaries from both sides and expressed his appreciation for the contributions and support given by the Japan America Society of Colorado (JASC), Japanese Firms Association (JFA), Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) and all of the guests.
     After the Consul-General, Lt. Governor Lynne offered a few words in which she said in view of lively local government, cultural and economic exchanges taking place, including the governor’s visit from Colorado’s sister prefecture of Yamagata, she hopes relations between Japan and Colorado will further strengthen in the future. Colorado State Treasurer Walker Stapleton, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers, and Aurora Mayor Steve Hogan also addressed the audience and unanimously agreed that they think highly of the friendly relationship between the two countries and expressed high hopes for future development in relations.
     At the venue, courtesy of Ikebana International’s Sogetsu School, an Ikebana flower arrangement, which is an iconic cultural aspect of Japan, decorated the entrance to the ballroom. In the area outside the ballroom, the Consulate office and Japanese companies in Colorado set up informational booths for the guests. At the Consulate’s booth, an introductory video about Japan aired while providing information from our Japanese local government counterparts. There were also Japanese sake tastings and a display of Japanese first harvest rice. For the company booths, each company displayed and offered information about their products and services. The booths were a public-private sectors cooperation effort and were well received by the reception guests.