Like the rest of the world, JACL is shocked and saddened by the assassination of Japan’s former Prime Minister Abe Shinzo. We send our condolences to the people of Japan and especially his widow Ms. Abe Akie.
During his tenure, Prime Minister Abe worked to ensure a strong relationship between Japan and the United States and recognized the importance of Japanese Americans in fortifying that relationship. In the wake of the Tohoku Earthquake in 2011, amongst many efforts to affirm the stronger bridges built between Japan and the world community, the JACL Kakehashi Program for Japanese American Young Adults was established in 2014 by the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Since that first cohort, nearly 1,000 young adults have had the opportunity to participate in this impactful foreign exchange.
JACL Executive Director David Inoue, an alumnus of the Japanese American Leadership Delegation 2018 and a past chaperone for JACL’s Kakehashi Trip, offered these remarks in response to Prime Minister Abe’s passing.
“Prime Minister Abe was a champion for reaffirming the strong ties between Japan and the United States. Under his leadership, programs such as the JACL Kakehashi Program have helped so many Japanese American youth to reconnect with their ancestry, whether their families have been in the United States for generations or are newly immigrated. As we hope to resume the Kakehashi Program in the coming year, we look forward to fortifying our identities as Americans with our Japanese cultural heritage and to honor the legacy of Prime Minister Abe’s leadership in building bridges between our two countries.”