On November 16, the “Friendship Blossoms — Dogwood Tree Initiative” celebrated the centennial anniversary of Japan’s historic gift of 3,000 cherry trees to America with the planting of 100 blooming dogwood trees in Yoyogi Park in Tokyo, the first of 3,000 dogwood trees to be sent as a reciprocal gift to Japan by the people of the United States of America. U.S. Ambassador to Japan John V. Roos and Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Tara D. Sonenshine commemorated the occasion alongside Acting Governor of Tokyo Naoki Inose, expressing confidence that, “Future generations will enjoy the shade of these trees for as long as we can foresee. They symbolize a friendship that is already strong and enduring.” Vice Chairman of the U.S.-Japan Bridging Foundation Thierry Porté and Bridging Scholar Heather Solaequi also participated in the planting of the dogwood trees.
Secretary Clinton announced the Friendship Blossoms Initiative during Japanese Prime Minister Noda’s visit to Washington in April 2012. The Friendship Blossoms Initiative is a collaborative public-private partnership established between the Government of the United States of America and the U.S. – Japan Bridging Foundation that embodies the significant people-to-people, cross-cultural and educational exchanges between the United States and Japan. Through the Initiative, more than 3,000 dogwood trees will be dispersed throughout Japan over the next three years, including in the Tohoku region that is recovering from the Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011.
In her announcement, Secretary Clinton characterized the historic nature of the exchange of trees between the United States and Japan: “One hundred years ago, the United States received 3,000 cherry trees as a gift of friendship from the Japanese people… I am pleased to announce a gift of 3,000 dogwood trees for the people of Japan from the American people. We hope that these dogwood trees in Japan will, like the cherry trees here, serve as a symbol of the strong relationship and friendship between our countries.”
The Government of the United States of America and the U.S.-Japan Bridging Foundation wish to thank the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, the United States National Arboretum, UPS, Chevron, Coca-Cola, Caterpillar, General Electric, Raytheon, and Applied Materials for their generous support in making this historic gesture possible.
Information about the Friendship Blossoms Initiative and how to request trees for planting in Japan
Full text of Secretary Clinton’s announcement of the Initiative