2016 Reception to celebrate the Emperor's Birthday (December 6, 2016)
On December 6, Consul-General Takashi Shinozuka hosted a reception to celebrate the Emperor’s Birthday at the official residence. Guests representing the fields of law, economy, government, education and media came from all over the Southeast, numbering at approximately 170 attendees.
Following a piano performance of both the Japanese and American national anthems, Consul-General Shinozuka recounted the events of the year and spoke on the various efforts to strengthen the relationship between Japan and the four states within the Consulate General of Japan in Atlanta’s jurisdiction.
Congratulatory remarks from guests included words from Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill on the importance of Japan-Alabama relations and from Georgia School Superintendent Richard Woods on the importance of Japan-Georgia relations. Georgia House Representatives Tom Taylor and Joe Wilkinson read a congratulatory message on behalf of Georgia Governor Nathan Deal, and Former Mayor of Atlanta Sam Massell regaled the long-lasting bond between Japan and Atlanta.
To wrap up the guest speakers, Lynne Riley, Commissioner from the Georgia Department of Revenue, voiced gratitude for Japan’s investments in Georgia and gave a toast to the continued development of relations between Japan and Georgia. Other esteemed guests to attend were Mayor Hollie Cost of Montevallo, Alabama (sister city to Echizen-cho, Fukui Prefecture), Mayor Larry Guest of Elberton, Georgia (sister city to Takamatsu-cho (previously Mure-cho), Kagawa Prefecture), Mayor Bucky Johnson of Norcross, Mayor Jimmy Burnette of Suwanee, Mayor Bill Orr of Braselton, Mayor Johnny Crist of Lilburn and many others.
The reception this year also featured a display of various product samples, panels and information packets with the help of approximately 70 Japanese-affiliated companies from Georgia, Alabama, North Carolina and South Carolina. Refreshments provided included onigiri rice balls made from newly harvested rice (shinmai) from Japan and Japanese sake and ikebana arrangements were provided with the help of Ikebana International.
Greeting from GA House Reps. Joe Wilkinson and Tom Taylor and reading of Gov. Nathan Deal’s letter of congratulations to the Emperor