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Japan's Advocate in the Midwest

By Philippe Le Saux
- Dec 29, 2014
Credit : GMI Post


Walter Mondale, former U.S. Vice President and Ambassador to Japan

Before becoming the vice president under President Jimmy Carter (1976-1980), Walter Mondale served as senator from his native Min­nesota from 1964 to 1976.  Following a return to private law practice in his home state, Mondale was enlisted back to public life when he was appointed by President Bill Clinton as am­bassador to Japan from 1993 to 1996.

The former vice presi­dent spoke of why ties must grow between Japan and the Midwest in a brief interview with The Japan Times, which served as daily reading while he was ambassador and re­garded “the conduit to people like me to learn about Japan.”

On Minnesota’s ties with Japan:

“I think the relationship is excellent. We don’t have a large Japa­nese population here, but we have a wonderful Japan-America Society here in Minnesota and we have a very close working re­lationship with the Consul General of Japan in Chicago. We stay very close, through our Chamber of Commerce, with people that work with Japan.”

On the similarities with Japanese:

“I think the Japanese who would come here would feel very comfortable in Minnesota. We have a very similar, strong cul­ture. We are responsible, we make good friends and we value those friendships. We believe in education and helping our kids get started. All the things that they would want as a part of the culture of business, I think we fit.”

On the expanding relationship with Japan:

“I always want to see more business investment going both ways. I would also like to see more emphasis on student ex­changes. Through the Japan-America Society, we have stu­dent exchange programs. These young Minnesotans who go there for a year or two, come back having learned about Japan. They’re excited about it, and I think they’ll spend their lives showing a special interest for Japan. So we need more of that, both ways.    

- Originally prepared by Global Media for The Japan Times Special Report on the U.S. Midwest 2014 (Credit: Philippe Le SauxAngelo RomualdezElizabeth Arcega and Brian Banta)

U.S. Midwest 2014 was prepared for and originally printed in The Japan Times Newspaper.

PDF of the printed report

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