His Excellency The Ambassador of Japan Ichiro Fujisaki, Japanese Ambassador to the United States, is scheduled to meet with Japanese students from Tokai University who are taking classes at the John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences. He will also take part in a public "Japan-North Dakota Symposium" at UND, as well as be the guest of honor at a community reception at the Grand Forks Japanese Gardens in Sertoma Park.
The Ambassador will be at 115 Odegard Hall from 3 p.m.-4:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 31. He will present at 3:30 p.m., and follow with a short question-and-answer session. The community reception at the Japanese Gardens will begin at 5:30 p.m. at Sertoma Park, near the corner of 11th Avenue South and 34th Street South (just west of Altru hospital).
The Ambassador's UND presentation will be open to the public and will focus on business and trade opportunities between Japan and North Dakota.
Following the presentation, Grand Forks Mayor Michael R. Brown will host a reception for Fujisaki and the community at the Grand Forks Japanese Gardens. They were a gift from the people of Awano, Japan following the Flood of 1997 in Grand Forks. Today, Grand Forks has a friendship-city relationship with the city of Kanuma, which has absorbed Awano; the regions have forged a bond through student exchanges and mutual delegation visits. The garden is a lasting symbol of the relationship between the people of Grand Forks and of Japan.
"This visit is a tremendous honor for Grand Forks," said Mayor Brown. "Our residents have strong connections with the Japanese people, forged through years of various partnerships, programs and exchanges. We look forward to opportunities like this visit to build upon this relationship."
North Dakota and Japan have also cultivated a relationship through trade. Japan is an important export market for North Dakota. From 2000 to 2011, annual exports to Japan have doubled from $15.1 million to $31.3 million.
"Japan and North Dakota have a strong business and trade relationship," said Dean Gorder, executive director of the North Dakota Trade Office. "This visit by Ambassador Fujisaki further cultivates that bond, and we grateful for the Ambassador's interest in our business community."
The top five products exported from North Dakota to Japan are soybeans, self-propelled bulldozers, wheat, oil and mustard. The Red River Valley region of North Dakota and Minnesota supply nearly 65 percent of the soybeans used in the production of Japan's natto, a popular health food in the country.
According to the Embassy of Japan's website, Ambassador Fujisaki's goal is to visit as many states, cities and places as possible during his tenure.
Ambassador Fujisaki's stop at UND and Grand Forks is part of a larger visit to North Dakota.
For more details about Ambassador Fujisaki's visit, email Brittany Posey, North Dakota Trade Office, at Brittany@ndto.com.