WASHINGTON.- Japanese American Veterans Association President Robert Nakamoto, Board member Grant Ichikawa, and Executive Director Terry Shima were awarded the Japan Minister of Foreign Affairs Award by Japan’s Ambassador Ichiro Fujisaki at his official residence in Washington, D.C. on Nov. 17. Sen. Daniel K. Inouye and his wife, Irene Hirano Inouye, Congresswoman-elect Colleen Hanabusa, other dignitaries and a large number of JAVA members witnessed the event.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs Award recognized JAVA’s achievements in promoting “exchange between Japan and the United States and contributing greatly to the strengthening of friendship between Japan and the Japanese American community.”
Fujisaki, following his reading of the citation, congratulated JAVA on the award and expressed his appreciation for “JAVA’s endeavors to achieve our common goals.” He also commended the 100th Battalion, 442nd Regimental Combat Team, and Nisei who served in the Military Intelligence Service on the awarding of the Congressional Gold Medal. The presentation is expected to take place in the fall of 2011.
In accepting the award, Nakamoto said one of JAVA’s missions is to support the Foreign Ministry and the U.S.-Japan Council’s goal “to strengthen the friendship between Japan and the Japanese American community.”
He said JAVA’s activities include: providing briefs to Japanese high school students and government officials on the Japanese American experience during World War II; assisting Japanese graduate students to conduct research in Washington, D.C. and arrange interviews with Washington officials, including Japanese Americans; facilitating interviews by the Japanese press and TV with Japanese Americans nationwide; partnering with the Japan America Society of Washington, D.C. to man a booth at the National Cherry Blossom Festival to discuss the Japanese American story; and jointly with 442nd Hawaii, digitizing and archiving at both websites the National Archives records of 100th, 442nd and MIS. When completed, researchers would be able to access this database electronically from anywhere in the world, including Japan.
Inouye, honorary chair of JAVA, discussed the importance of U.S.-Japan relations and commended JAVA for contributing to that endeavor. Hirano Inouye, president of the U.S.-Japan Council, described the mission of the council and commended JAVA and other organizations for the role their efforts.
Hanabusa, who was recently elected to the U.S. House of Representatives from Hawaii, said she looked forward to serving as a lawmaker at the national level and to working with JAVA and other veterans’ organizations.