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Japan Consul General Mistushiro Wada discusses the relationship between the U.S. and Japan during a visit to Ohio University on April 19.

Japan Consul General Mistushiro Wada discusses the relationship between the U.S. and Japan during a visit to Ohio University on April 19.

Japan Consul General Mistushiro Wada is pictured with several Ohio University administrators during his April 19 visit to the Athens Campus.

Japan Consul General Mistushiro Wada is pictured with several Ohio University administrators during his April 19 visit to the Athens Campus.

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Japan Consul General discusses U.S.-Japan relations during OHIO visit


Japan Consul General Mistushiro Wada visited Ohio University on Tuesday, April 19, to visit with faculty, staff and students and to deliver a short lecture.

Consul General Wada serves the Japan Consulate Office for Michigan and Ohio, where he assists Japanese citizens and businesses in the U.S., supports programs that spread the Japanese culture and language, and works with U.S. citizens hoping to live and work in Japan.

On April 19, Wada and his political and economic advisor, Bill Schlatter, visited OHIO to take part in a series of meetings and events. The meetings included discussions with Executive Vice President and Provost Pam Benoit, Vice Provost for Global Affairs and International Studies Lorna Jean Edmonds, College of Arts and Sciences Dean Robert Frank, Vice President for Research and Creative Activity and Dean of the Graduate College Joe Shields, Linguistics Department Chair Chris Thompson, Asian Studies Director Takaaki Suzuki and several other faculty and staff members.

Wada also took the time to meet with OHIO students and deliver a public lecture about the relationship between the U.S. and Japan.

“I cannot stress enough the importance of U.S.-Japan relations,” Wada said during his lecture. The current relationship is very strong and is important to both countries, he said.

“The two countries share universal values and basic fundamentals,” Wada said. The military alliance is key to the interests of both countries, and the economic collaboration is also extremely important, he explained.

Ohio is home to 461 Japanese facilities that provide nearly 74,000 jobs, Wada said. Many of the facilities are automotive related, but there are a wide range of types of facilities.

Ohio is also home to 12,917 Japanese citizens, and Ohio and Michigan combined have roughly 26,000 Japanese citizens, Wada said. Japanese culture is spreading in the U.S. through food, music, television and other areas, which Wada said he is pleased to see. 

For example, the U.S. has more than 4,200 sushi restaurants, he said. U.S. chefs, he added, have made their own additions to sushi and other Japanese food items and have resulted in the popularity of California rolls and other items.

“I also found Michigan rolls up north,” Wada said.

Ohio also has a large number of Japanese language classes and people interested in learning the language and visiting Japan.

“I would like to encourage you to visit Japan,” Wada said.

One role of his office is to assist with the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program, which sends participants to Japan to work as assistant language teachers and coordinators for international relations. Ohio University students and alumni are encouraged to apply for the JET Program through his office, and Wada said that several OHIO alumni have worked in the program in recent years. Currently, 135 participants in the JET program are from Ohio or Michigan.

Wada also provided audience members with a comment from an OHIO alumnus who has worked in the program.

“JET provided me with many opportunities that one might not expect,” 2011 graduate Mark Hykes said in the comments provided by Wada. “It didn’t just give me a chance to become a better instructor while working as an ALT, furthering the knowledge I learned at OU; but it allowed me to increase my Japanese language skills, allowing me to purse a master’s degree in Japanese translation.

“Above all else, though, it allowed me to meet new people and try new things. From lifelong friends that lived in my town of Kaiyo to government officials both Japanese and international, JET opened so many doors for my future. The hardest part has been picking one to step through.”

Wada invited OHIO students to apply for the JET program and also encouraged them to look into visiting Japan by studying abroad or through other programs. Study abroad programs can provide life-changing experiences that can be a valuable part of a student’s education, he said.

This article was provided by Ohio University’s Office of Global Affairs and International Studies.