Nihon no minasan, konnichiwa.

Serving as the United States Ambassador to our closest friend and ally has been the greatest privilege of my life.

I want to thank the people of Japan for taking me and my family into their hearts – right from the beginning. I was nervous when I presented my credentials to His Majesty the Emperor but there were so many people waving and smiling at me that I knew it was going to be wonderful.I want to thank all the people who told me that they memorized President Kennedy’s Inaugural Address, and that they admired my mother. 

I want to thank everyone who helped me find Matsumoto san, who sent a set of Hina Dolls to me in the White House and sparked my love of Japan. And as we commemorated the 70th anniversary of the end of the War, it was an honor to meet Hanami san, whose husband captained the Japanese destroyer which collided with my father’s boat.It made me feel that I was helping to fulfill his wish that our two great democracies would work together to build a more peaceful world.

I want to thank Prime Minister Abe and the members of his government for working to strengthen our “alliance of hope,” and for sharing President Obama’s belief in the “power of reconciliation.” I want to thank the Prime Minister for strongly supporting the U.S.-Japan alliance and for the many landmark achievements of the past three years.Most of all, I want to thank him, and Foreign Minister Kishida, for welcoming President Obama to Hiroshima and for visiting Pearl Harbor just last month.

I want to thank the women of Japan for inspiring me to believe even more strongly that when women succeed, nations succeed.A great change is taking place and I have total confidence in the ability of Japanese women to lead this country. I want to thank the teachers, business leaders and family members who are supporting and mentoring them – and who realize that they are too talented to sit on the sidelines.

I am grateful to the people of Tohoku for welcoming me and for inspiring the world with your courage and resilience. I was deeply moved to meet students who are staying in the region to work on revitalization, local officials who put their communities first despite great personal loss, and to see the progress being made over the past three years to rebuild lives and communities.

I am grateful to the people of Okinawa for helping me to better understand their struggle and our shared history. I am proud that our governments were able to conclude the largest land return in 30 years, and I hope we continue to work together to achieve our common goals.

Most of all, I want to thank the students in the schools and universities I visited all over Japan. You taught me a new way of looking at the world, and brought great energy and joy to our encounters. You are the best ambassadors Japan could ever want and I hope you will all come visit the United States. The future of our alliance depends on you!

So even though I will be leaving, I don’t have to say goodbye. I will be taking all these gifts, these lessons and these memories home with me – and I hope to come back and visit.

Imamade honto ni arigatou gozaimashita.

日本の皆さんこんにちは。

最も緊密な友好国かつ同盟国である日本で大使を務められ光栄でした。

私たち家族を歓迎してくれた日本の皆さんありがとうございます。信任状奉呈式では緊張しましたが、たくさんの声援をいただき、素晴らしい経験になると感じました。私の父の就任演説や母への敬愛の気持ちについて話してくださった皆さんありがとうございます。

昔ひな人形をいただいた松本さんを探してくれた方々にお礼申し上げます。私の日本好きは彼女がきっかけです。戦後70年の節目には父の魚雷艇と衝突した駆逐艦の艦長だった花見さんの奥さまにお会いすることができました。世界平和に向け日米の連携を願っていた父の志を引き継いでいると感じました。

安倍首相と日本政府にも感謝します。「希望の同盟」を強化し、大統領が信じる「和解の力」に共鳴していただきました。また日米同盟への強固な支持と過去3年間の数々の功績にも感謝します。何より安倍首相と岸田外相の大統領の広島訪問への尽力と先月の真珠湾訪問に感謝します。

国家の成功の鍵は女性であると確信させてくれた日本の女性に感謝します。変化の真っ只中、日本の女性は国を主導する力を持っています。女性を支援し、能力のある女性の活用に取り組む学校・企業・家庭に感謝します。

私を温かく迎えてくれた東北の皆さん。皆さんの強さは世界を元気にしています。被災地に残って復興を助ける学生や自らが被災しているにもかかわらず、復興に取り組む自治体職員の姿に胸が熱くなりました。人々の生活や地域の再建は進んでいます。

沖縄の苦闘や歴史を教えてくれた県民の皆さんにも感謝します。日米は過去30年で最大の土地返還を実現しました。共通の目標に向けた連携の継続を願っています。

日本各地でお会いした学生さんたちにも感謝します。新しい世界観を教えられ、たくさんの元気をもらいました。皆さんは日本の最高の大使です。いつか米国に来てください。日米同盟の未来を築くのは皆さんです。

私は日本を去りますが、さよならは言いません。日本での経験や思い出を持ち帰り、いつか日本に戻って来たいと思います。

今まで本当にありがとうございました。


(執筆:editors room)