From left: Norman Mineta, Yoriko and Ichiro Fujisaki, Floyd and Irene Mori at the USJC reception.

WASHINGTON — Japanese Ambassador to the U.S. Ichiro Fujisaki and his wife Yoriko, who have been an important part of the Washington, D.C. community for the past four years, made their last rounds of the nation’s capital before returning to Japan on Nov. 11.

The U.S.-Japan Council hosted a reception for Fujisaki on Nov. 5. USJC President Irene Hirano Inouye and her husband, Sen. Daniel K. Inouye, were in Hawaii for the election, but sent a video message in honor of the Fujisakis.

The reception featured remarks by former U.S. Secretary of Transportation Norman Y. Mineta, who thanked the Fujisakis for their service to the community. He presented them with gifts and made them “honorary Japanese Americans.”

The festivities continued on Nov. 7 when JACL Executive Director Priscilla Ouchida attended a reception hosted by the Fujisakis for their many friends in Washington.

Fujisaki, who is retiring, has been especially instrumental in building relationships with Japanese Americans. He attended the last three National JACL conventions (Chicago, Los Angeles and Seattle) and has been very supportive of the JACL and many other Asian American organizations.

He is the only person to receive the JACL President’s Award from two different presidents — Larry Oda and David Lin. The latter award was presented during the 2012 JACL Gala on Sept. 27. JACL wished the Fujisakis the best of luck as they embark on this new phase in their lives.

In addition, the Public Service Medal was presented to Fujisaki on Nov. 5 by Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus at the Department of Defense. The award is regarded as the highest in grade that can be presented to civilians. Guests at the ceremony included James Zumwalt, deputy assistant secretary of state, Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, as well as admirals from the U.S. Navy leadership.

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