A Glimpse of Secretary Clinton's Tokyo Visit

Posted by Lori Shoemaker
February 17, 2009
Arrival Ceremony
Secretary Clinton Visits The Meiji Shrine
Secretary Clinton Holds Press Conference With Japanese Foreign Minister Nakasone
Secretary Clinton with Japanese Foreign Minister Hirofumi Nakasone
Town Hall Meeting, University of Tokyo

About the Author: Lori Shoemaker serves as Assistant Press Attache at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo. You may also read Secretary Clinton's blog entry from Japan.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton arrived in Tokyo the evening of February 16 on her much-anticipated first trip abroad as Secretary, to reassert our commitment to our allies and partners in Asia and discuss common approaches to the challenges facing the international community. In her arrival ceremony Monday night, she met Japanese female astronauts and members of Japan’s Special Olympics team. On Tuesday, she started the day with an early-morning visit to the Meiji Shrine, one of my favorite spots in Tokyo. Walking under the Meiji Shrine’s majestic tall trees and historic torii (traditional wooden gates), you can leave the concrete, glass, and steel of modern Tokyo behind for a moment and feel a real sense of traditional Japanese culture.

Next Secretary Clinton stopped by the U.S. Embassy to meet and greet embassy employees and their families, expressing appreciation for our work preparing for her visit and in representing the United States abroad. Although I had to miss the “meet and greet” because I was already working at the Secretary’s next stop, Iikura Guest House, her close attention and willingness to listen to embassy staff meant a great deal to all of us.

Iikura Guest House is a beautifully-appointed Foreign Ministry building with a large reception hall, meeting rooms, and dining room. Secretary Clinton came to Tokyo to meet with senior Japanese officials for discussions on the strategic bilateral alliance and cooperation with Japan on regional and global issues such as the financial markets turmoil, humanitarian issues, and security and climate change. At Iikura House, the Secretary had a meeting and working lunch with Foreign Minister Nakasone and then together they addressed and took questions from a group of more than 100 journalists, including camera crews, assembled in the hall. My own role was to work out arrangements at the site for the traveling press which accompany the Secretary. After her meeting with Defense Minister Hamada and then a few moments with Ambassador Ogata, the president of the Japan International Cooperation Agency, the Secretary returned to the U.S. Embassy to meet with family members of Japanese citizens who were abducted to North Korea, an issue to which she attaches great importance.

The Secretary then held a busy round of interviews with ABC, CBS and NBC in the embassy’s small television studio, before proceeding to the Imperial Residence, where, as a former First Lady, she was received by Empress Michiko. (In 1994, President and Mrs. Clinton held a state dinner in honor of the Emperor and Empress.) After tea with the Empress, the Secretary returned to her hotel to continue interviews, on-camera with two Japanese broadcasters, and then with two Japanese newspapers. (My job involved setting these up.)

The Secretary’s schedule was tight, timed down to the minute, and next she was whisked off to Tokyo University for a “Town Hall” meeting with Japanese college students. My colleagues told me that Secretary Clinton was in her element at the college “Town Hall,” warmly greeting individual students after answering a wide range of their questions. (If you have a question for the Secretary, you may ask her one yourself online.) Since I wasn’t at the "Town Hall," look for more about it later.

From Tokyo University, the Secretary proceeded to a meeting and working dinner with Prime Minister Aso, where I am sure that both the conversation and the cuisine were high-level. She then had a meeting with opposition party leader Ozawa, before the end of her long day’s schedule.

As a mid-level press officer not at the Prime Minister’s dinner, I enjoyed a “conbini obento” (box lunch from a convenience store) back at the office while finishing up assigned tasks, including this blog, in order to rush home to see my (sleeping) children. I’m sure that our Secretary, as a hard-working mother and professional for many years, would understand.

Comments

Comments

Paul
|
Florida, USA
February 17, 2009

Paul in Florida writes:

Thank you Sec. Clinton for sharing these photos of your first trip as Secretary of State! I am so glad you are Representing us! God Bless You! :)

Terry
|
Connecticut, USA
February 17, 2009

Terry in Connecticut writes:

Whoop! Check out the main State Dept. Homepage on Secretary of State Hillary Clinton press conference w/ the Japanese Foreign Minister. The wait was worth for a bunch of videos and pics of Sec. Clinton doing her work abroad. Thanks Dipnote for keeping us posted and imformed of Hillary's travels. my only grip is it takes too long to post comments.

Rosemary
|
New Jersey, USA
February 17, 2009

Rosemary in New Jersey writes:

Great post, Lori! You worked hard and it appears you pulled it all off without a hitch. If I know our Hillary, and I think I do, even though your work was behind the scenes, she took the trouble to find out who made these arrangements. She knows logistics do not work themselves out.

Thanks for giving us such an interesting and beautifully written account of the day.

Carolyn
|
New York, USA
February 17, 2009

Carolyn in New York writes:

Dear Mme Secretary,

I enjoyed seeing the photo of you with the Japanese female astronauts. Did you feel a twinge of envy? I did. I think I remember reading that as a girl you had dreams about becoming an astronaut, as did I. In fact, I didn't really relinquish those dreams until age 50, when I visited NASA and learned that migraine-prone types are absolutely miserable at zero gravity -- that counts me out! I'm embarassed to say I didn't know Japan had female astronauts, but it will be a pleasure to follow their careers here on in.

I don't need to tell you how much good you have done and are doing for the cause of women's rights around the world. Call me an eternal optimist, but I look forward to the day when you will continue that endeavor as our first woman President.

Herold
|
South Korea
February 17, 2009

Herold in South Korea writes:

Thank you Sec.Clinton for your Blog. We hoped traditional American-Korean Military allience & Close Relations could had been regarded more important than any other country in Asia. Anyway,you are No.1 Secretary of DOS in American History.

Patrick
|
Maryland, USA
February 18, 2009

Patrick in Maryland writes:

I am happy to see your trip to Tokyo japan went so well. I think this is a golden moment in history. I like the photo of Hillary,The Astonauts and The Olympics team members. I think the Japans are a very spiritual people and that The United states can learn a lot from them. I am glad to see they will be working with us on the problems of the world.

I also think China,Korea,and other Asia countries will be a big part in solving some of the problems in the world today.I also like that Minister Aso will be visiting the United States on Febuary 24th.

Keep up the good work. Cya :)

Zahra
|
District Of Columbia, USA
February 18, 2009

Zahra in Washington, DC writes:

It is a pleasure to have Secretary Clinton representing the United States abroad. I like the picture very much. Only by working closely, the United States and the Asian countries will be able to build a better understanding of each other's different cultures and traditions.

Thank you.

Tommye J.
|
Texas, USA
February 18, 2009

Tommye Jean in Texas writes:

I have U.S. Dept of State saved to Favorites and will follow the work of the State Dept and our Madame Secretary, whom I have followed and supported for years. I have no questions about Asia but listen carefully to Madame Secretary's words and, as always, learn a great deal. I am excited and so pleased and proud that she is our Secretary of State. I share in the excitement and enthusiasm of the people in the State Department with whom she will work to accomplish the many challenges our nation faces. I wish I were one of you who can call her your "boss", but, I must watch, support, and cheer you on from afar. Thank you for your work all over the world on behalf of our country. Thank you for your very warm embrace of Madame Secretary. I believe you have someone that you have deserved for a very long time.

Koji
|
Japan
February 19, 2009

Koji in Japan writes:

It was our pleasure that Ms. Clinton came to Japan. The alliance between the United States and Japan is a cornerstone of our foreign policy. We hope that the relationship between North Korea will be improved. The abduction of North Korea should be resolved immediately. Hope the U.S. will help our government to solve this problem.

Lori
|
Japan
February 19, 2009

Lori in Japan writes:

Thank you Tommye Jean, Zahra, Patrick, and others, for your comments. As I mentioned in my original blog, the Secretary had a lively Town Hall meeting with Japanese students. There's a nice one-minute clip of it posted in the Multimedia part of state.gov, or you can copy and paste this link into your browser: http://link.brightcove.com/services/player/bcpid1857622883?bctid=1331261....

Enjoy!

Shelley
|
Connecticut, USA
February 19, 2009

Shelley in Connecticut writes:

This blog is a great place. I first came here to follow Secretary Clinton, and am enjoying the chance to hear from & learn more about our hardworking representatives around the globe.

Annette
|
California, USA
February 19, 2009

Annette in California writes:

I have been following SoS Clinton throughout her travels this past week. She is such an amazing and brilliant talent! I am thrilled that we have her as our representative and I have the utmost respect for her as clearly do many others around the globe. Oh, what I wouldn't give to work for a Department that she is heading!

Jennifer
|
Japan
February 21, 2009

Jennifer in Japan writes:

Dear Lori,

Thanks to you and all the others here in Tokyo that made Mdm. Secretary's visit a success. I was one of the family members at the Embassy "meet and greet" with Mdm. Secretary and it was very special.

Sincerely,
Jennifer

Mary
|
Canada
February 22, 2009

Mary in Canada writes:

Thank you so much for this informative blog! It is gratifying to see the hard work that you are all doing to ensure Madam Secretary's visit to Japan is a success.

HIllary Clinton is a wonderful, perhaps the best ever, diplomat and best represents the hard working values and ethos of a country that seems to be waking up to its great potential abroad. HIllary is an icon to all girls and women all over the world and she is already humanizing the political process with her grace, dignity and compassionate intelligence. Keep on informing us of her travels!!! Thanks.

Chris D.
|
District Of Columbia, USA
March 9, 2009

Chris in Washington, DC writes:

Sec. Clinton is a shining example of a diplomat. She is a positive influence and role model for all many you men and women of this nation. Through tremendous achievements she has shown the progress of our nation. Thank you for a very successful trip to Asia and strengthening the bond of our nations.

.

Latest Stories

November 25, 2014

20th Anniversary of State.gov

It seems like just yesterday that the Bureau of Public Affairs (PA) developed the internet precursor to the state.gov website… more
November 24, 2014

Iran Nuclear Talks in Vienna

Secretary of State John Kerry traveled to London, Paris and Vienna, November 17-24. On November 24, Secretary Kerry held a… more

Pages