(Extensions of Remarks - December 07, 2004)

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[Extensions of Remarks]
[Page E2198]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []



                          HON. KAREN McCARTHY

                              of missouri

                    in the house of representatives

                       Tuesday, December 7, 2004

  Ms. McCARTHY of Missouri. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize and 
commemorate the services of the Consulate General of Japan at Kansas 
City to the six-state region of Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, North 
Dakota, and South Dakota and to note, with sadness, the closing of the 
Consulate as of December 31, 2004.
  Since the Japanese Pavilion at the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair first 
intrigued and delighted tens of thousands of visitors, the links 
between Japan and the heart of the American Midwest have grown in 
strength and diversity. As investment, trade and educational exchanges 
have increased over the last 50 years, so too have the number and scope 
of contacts and contracts between these six states and Japan.
  The Japanese government has been proud to host Governors from the 
six-state region as honored guests, along with United States Senators 
and Representatives, business leaders and leading scholars. In return, 
Ambassadors, Diet members, and even the Emperor and Empress of Japan 
have visited the heart of America. But there is much more to the 
relationship than VIP visits and official statements. The Consulate 
General of Japan at Kansas City has served the six-state region for 25 
years in promoting economic development, fostering cultural exchange 
and understanding, and in providing consular services to the Japanese 
citizens and U.S. citizens in this region.
  More than one hundred Japanese companies have operations within the 
region and the Consulate has been a significant factor in facilitating 
and encouraging such investments to the economic benefit of the region 
through increased employment and economic activity. These companies 
employ over six thousand Americans. Exports out of the region to Japan 
exceed $900 million per year.
  The Consulate has actively promoted and sponsored cultural fairs and 
activities throughout the region to foster better cultural 
understanding and exchange. Examples of cultural activities are the 
Annual St. Louis Japanese Festival and the Greater Kansas City Japan 
Festival. The Consulate has assisted almost three hundred regional 
educators to experience Japan first hand through the Fulbright Memorial 
Teachers Program. Over eight hundred Americans have participated in the 
Japan Exchange and Teaching Program. Nearly 100 university and graduate 
students have participated in scholarship programs provided by the 
Ministry of Education of Japan. Currently, almost 2,000 Japanese 
university students are enrolled in public and private universities 
throughout the 6-state region. In addition, the Consulate has 
coordinated cultural gifts in the form of gardens, gateways, and 
statuary to numerous local communities. The Consulate has supported and 
promoted 28 different sister cities and sister state relationships.

  The Consulate has provided consular services to the 4,500 Japanese 
nationals living in the six-state region and, over the years, the 
Consulate has issued more than 30,000 visas to American citizens 
wishing to work, study, or live in Japan.
  Over the last 25 years, the Consulate has been active in working to 
resolve trade issues specific to the region and, as an example, the 
current Consul General, Takao Shibata, has been actively involved in 
efforts to resolve beef trade limitations imposed out of concern for 
BSE exposure.
  Since arriving in Kansas City in July 2002, Consul General Takao 
Shibata and his lovely wife Mieko Shibata have become a valuable part 
of our community. They will be missed by me and the citizens of 
Missouri's Fifth Congressional District.
  The people of Kansas City and the six-state region regret the closing 
of the Consulate, but we look forward to a continuation of our close 
relationship with Japan, and the provision of consular services by the 
Consulate General of Japan at Chicago.