Consul-General of Japan Speaks to MTSU Students

by Jamie Cooley // Contributing Writer

Motohiko Kato, the Consul-General of Japan, delivered a speech to MTSU students on Wednesday, discussing relations between the United States and Japan.

Before Kato’s speech, David Schmidt, the vice president of International Affairs at MTSU, provided students with background information about the Consul-General.

Schmidt told students Kato entered into the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1982 and was most recently chosen as the Consulate-General of Nashville, giving him jurisdiction over Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee.

In his speech, Kato spoke about how promoting Japanese business in these five states was a major goal in his agenda.

“My primary mission is to care for Japanese citizens residing in the southeast, protect the interest of Japanese companies, and to promote Japanese culture and business throughout these five states,” Kato said. “The USA Exchange programs are especially important.”

Kato stated that Tennessee was a state that Japan has always liked to invest in.

“Japan is the biggest investor and job creator in the state of Tennessee,” Kato said. “Roughly 180 Japanese companies who brought nearly forty thousand employees are doing business successfully in the state of Tennessee.”

The idea of improving Japanese business in the state of Tennessee was an emphasized goal of Kato’s. The Consul-General brought up automobiles as an example, stating that they make up nearly half of the US market, and Japanese businesses hold a fairly significant portion of this industry.

“Japanese automobile makers hold 37 percent of this market,” Kato said.

After his speech, Kato answered questions from students about the Japanese culture and why students should visit Japan one day.

The Consulate-General’s speech was one of multiple events hosted during International Education week.

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