Governor Mike Pence began his first trade mission to Japan today by traveling to Tochigi Prefecture, Indiana's sister-state, where he met with Tochigi Governor Tomikazu Fukuda and commemorated the 14-year sister-state relationship.
While in Tochigi, Pence announced that the Japan-America Society of Indiana (JASI) will establish a Japan Center and Gardens in the state of Indiana. The project is expected to serve as a cultural gateway to Japan, providing the Hoosier State with a culturally appropriate venue for events and meetings relating to Japan, gardens and nature. With an authentic Japanese architectural design, the new facility will house JASI offices and serve as a community center, offering cultural events, art exhibitions and public affairs, educational and corporate programming.
"The Japan Center and Gardens will symbolize the friendship between Indiana and Japan that has been cultivated, thrived and bloomed," said Pence. "Upon its completion, I look forward to welcoming Hoosiers and visitors alike to this beautiful venue and promoting the history, tradition and strength of Indiana's bond with Japan."
The center, which will be located in a natural, park-like setting, will showcase formal gardens, trails, water features and wooded areas with the goal of promoting an understanding of nature and the environment through the Japanese aesthetic. JASI is actively considering possible sites and welcomes proposals.
"While the project is still in its early stages, the center promises to showcase the substantial commitment of Hoosiers to attract, welcome and partner with Japanese visitors in Indiana, and to enhance the cultural and economic cooperation between the state and Japan," said Theresa Kulczak, executive director of JASI. "As both a learning center and quiet retreat, this will be one more shining beacon of Indiana's vibrant, long-standing relationship with Japan."
Pence made the announcement during a luncheon meeting with Tochigi city officials hosted by Fukuda at the Tochigi Prefectural Hall.
A photo from Saturday's trip to Tochigi Prefecture may be found attached. Caption: Day 1: Governor Mike Pence greets Tochigi Governor Tomikazu Fukuda and commemorates the 14-year sister-state relationship between Tochigi Prefecture and Indiana.
Additional photos may be found later at this link: www.in.gov/gov/Japan2013.htm.
The Japan-America Society of Indiana (JASI) is a 501c3 not-for-profit cultural and educational organization whose mission is to serve as a bridge of friendship and cooperation between the people of Indiana and Japan through the promotion of cultural understanding and economic partnerships. Established in 1988, JASI it offers the largest network of Japanese and American members in Indiana. On an ongoing basis it sponsors cultural, educational, and corporate programming and serves as an information center. For more information, visit www.japanindiana.org.