Motohiko Kato, Consul-General of Japan in Nashville, visited UTC recently and met with Chancellor Steve Angle. While he was in Chattanooga, Kato also met with Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke and Charles Wood, Vice President for Economic Development for the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce. Kato was in the Scenic City to discuss education, Tennessee-Japan relations, business in Chattanooga, and US-Japan relations.
Kato has jurisdiction in Tennessee, Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, and Mississippi. On his website he estimates there are approximately 350 Japanese businesses operating in these five states and 10,000 Japanese living in this region.
At UTC, Kato learned more about the educational activities provided by Asami Nakano, the Japan Outreach Coordinator who will be based at UTC in the Asia Program through academic year 2014-15. UTC is one of five universities in the United States awarded this fulltime position in 2013 by the Japan Outreach Initiative, made possible by a partnership with the UTC School of Education, The Creative Discovery Museum, the Hamilton County Department of Education, and the Chattanooga Charter School of Excellence. The JOI initiative is funded by the Laurasian Institute and the Center for Global Partnerships of the Japan Foundation.
Kato will return to campus as keynote speaker for the 6th Annual Introduction to Asia Conference, to be held Tuesday, February 18.
“It will be a good opportunity to talk about the Japan-US relationship and the economy of Japan, the third largest in the world,” Kato explained.
Dr. Lucien Ellington, editor of Education About Asia and director of the UTC Asia Program, explains that Japan is not only one of the most important American allies in Northeast Asia but has a culture that is over 2,000 years old.“Many Americans are interested in not only traditional Japan, but contemporary Japanese culture as well.” Ellington said.