On behalf of my colleagues in Mission Japan, I would like to extend my heartfelt condolences to the family and innumerable friends of Irene Hirano Inouye.
The strength of the U.S.-Japan partnership is owing in many respects to Ms. Hirano’s lifelong efforts to bring our two countries ever closer together. The U.S.-Japan Council, which she founded in 2008 and where she served as president until earlier this year, has been a force for building the people-to-people ties that make our relationship so special.
Following the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami, the U.S.-Japan Council, through Irene’s leadership, has administered the TOMODACHI Initiative, an educational and cultural exchanges and leadership program for young Japanese and Americans. Her work with Tomodachi in restoring hope to the communities affected by those disasters is a legacy that will endure.