President Joseph R. Biden’s first stop on his visit to Japan was at the historic U.S. Ambassador’s residence. The Ambassador and Ms. Rule personally welcomed the President to their home.
On the importance of the President’s visit to the residence, Ambassador Emanuel stated, “It is in honor to welcome my dear friend President Joe Biden to the residence on his first visit to Japan as President. I have known the President for more than two decades, and now welcoming him as President is deeply meaningful to me. On a fundamental level, this visit is about strengthening the U.S.-Japan Alliance as we advance the relationship from Alliance protection to Alliance projection in the Indo-Pacific. In addition, it is also about deepening the personal friendship and bond between the President and Prime Minister.”
With the President in attendance, the Ambassador dedicated the residence’s Norman Yoshio Mineta Room to highlight the many contributions Japanese-Americans have made to strengthening the U.S.-Japan relationship. At the dedication, Ambassador Emanuel reflected on Mineta’s career in public service: “He had a distinction as one of the first Japanese-American mayors, but also, as a testament to his integrity and character, he served two presidents of both parties as part of their cabinets. Norm Mineta and I worked together when I was a freshman Congressman, and he was Secretary of Transportation. He helped me secure modernization of Chicago’s public transportation Brown Line.”
A dedication certificate from President Biden reads, “Norman Yoshio Mineta was a strong supporter of the United States-Japan bilateral relationship and a leader in the Japanese American community. A son of Japanese immigrants and forced into a U.S. World War II incarceration camp as a child, he became the first Asian-American mayor of a major city and went on to a distinguished 20-year career in Congress. He was the first Asian-American Cabinet member, serving two U.S. Presidents, a Democrat and Republican. After September 11, 2001, Secretary of Transportation Mineta prohibited all U.S. airlines from discriminating against passengers based on ethnicity or religion, remembering his experience as a Japanese American during WWII. The President of the United States of America Joseph R. Biden and Mission Japan dedicated this room on May 22, 2022.”
In honor of the President’s visit, the Ambassador and Ms. Rule also dedicated two Delaware Peach Blossom trees and an American Holly tree in the residence garden, along with a commemorative plaque. The plaque inscription reads, “Delaware Peach Blossoms, planted by Ambassador Rahm Emanuel & Ms. Amy Rule to commemorate the visits of President Joseph R. Biden and Dr. Jill Biden, May 2022.” Peach Blossoms are the Delaware state flower and American Holly the Delaware state tree. As the President’s home state, they will remind all those who see them of his historic visit at this historic moment.
Ambassador Emanuel explained the planting’s significance: “Trees have been planted at the residence in honor of other presidents and American statesmen who advanced the U.S.-Japan relationship. Given the President’s visit to Japan at this critical juncture, the Delaware Peach Blossoms and American Holly dedicated today will become part of the great bipartisan commitment to the U.S.-Japan Alliance. As the Peach Blossom and Holly deepen their roots, they will also serve as a symbol of the United States and Japan’s deepening relationship.”
Some of the other dedications over the past 70 years include: the 1958 planting of dogwood trees as a living memorial to Japanese statesman Yukio Ozaki, a tree plaque for President Gerald Ford’s 1974 visit, a planting by Ambassador and Mrs. Mike Mansfield in commemoration of President Carter’s 1979 visit, Ambassador and Mrs. Howard Baker’s planting of flowering plums for President and Mrs. George W. Bush’s 2002 visit, and a memorial plaque for Senator Daniel K. Inouye (2013).