Tuesday, April 9, 2024

Southern Hospitality: North Carolina Prepares to Host Prime Minister of Japan Kishida Fumio

Apr 9, 2024

This week, Governor Roy Cooper and First Lady Kristin Cooper will host a historic visit from Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio and his wife Mrs. Kishida Yuko. The visit will feature a State Lunch at the Executive Mansion, visits to major Japanese employers in North Carolina and other sites. The State is working to put its best foot forward for the visit, including participation from noted North Carolina chefs and musicians.

The Prime Minister will travel to North Carolina following a White House State Dinner hosted by President Biden that Governor Cooper and First Lady Cooper also plan to attend. On Tuesday, Governor Cooper signed a proclamation recognizing the historic visit and welcoming the Prime Minister to North Carolina.

“Kristin and I are looking forward to showing Prime Minister and Mrs. Kishida what North Carolina has to offer,” said Governor Cooper. “Japanese investments in our state create thousands of jobs and these companies contribute so much to our communities. This historic visit provides a unique opportunity to showcase the best of North Carolina and continue to build this mutually beneficial relationship.”

On Thursday evening, Governor Cooper will greet Prime Minister of Japan Kishida Fumio at RDU-International Airport. On Friday, Governor Cooper, Prime Minister Kishida and a delegation of Japanese dignitaries will visit Toyota’s first and only electric and hybrid battery plant in Randolph County and HondaJet in Guilford County. First Lady Kristin Cooper will join Mrs. Kishida for a traditional Japanese tea at Sarah P. Duke Gardens in Durham. First Lady Cooper and Mrs. Kishida will also visit the North Carolina Museum of Science to see a traditional Japanese Friendship Doll that has been continuously on display in North Carolina since it was gifted to the state by the people of Japan in the 1920s.

The Coopers will host a State Lunch at the North Carolina Executive Residence.

At the State Lunch, award winning Raleigh Chef Ashley Christensen will prepare a menu that highlights North Carolina’s culinary tradition with contributions from Japanese fare. Sam Jones BBQ will provide lunch for other members of the Japanese delegation and members for the Japanese media.

The band Unspoken Tradition will provide live music with an acoustic bluegrass set in the garden at the State lunch.

“I am excited for the opportunity to cook for this group of outstanding leaders and to share some of North Carolina’s incredible bounty of ingredients, from land and sea, with Prime Minister Kishida Fumio,” said award-winning North Carolina chef and restauranteur Ashley Christensen. “Thank you to Governor Cooper for hosting my team and I in the Executive Mansion and for allowing our dishes to be a part of this historic occasion.”

“We are honored to be a part of this visit and most excited to share a tradition and foodway that is rooted in Eastern North Carolina,” said Mitchell Letchworth of Sam Jones BBQ. “Whole hog BBQ is a North Carolina standard and Sam Jones BBQ is proud to have our food served at such a momentous event.”

Governor Cooper visited Tokyo in 2023 to participate in the Southeast US/Japan Economic Partnership Conference and has continued to work to recruit new Japanese business investment to North Carolina. Japan is the largest source of foreign direct investment in North Carolina.

Since taking office, Governor Cooper’s sustained engagement with Japanese leaders and employers has paid dividends for North Carolina’s economy. From his trips to Tokyo in 2017 and 2023 to hosting the SEUS/Japan Conference in Charlotte next fall, Governor Cooper has made it a priority to build lasting relationships between North Carolina and Japanese business leaders and recruit good-paying jobs in high-growth industries like aerospace, electric vehicles and biotechnology.

More information will be available later this week on event specifics and opportunities for media coverage, including access to pool coverage for events with limited space.

Read the Governor’s Proclamation Recognizing the Prime Minister’s Visit Here


Related Topics: