Takashi Shinozuka, Japan’s Atlanta consulate-general, encouraged Troy University graduates on Friday to continue to look for opportunities to increase their experience and understanding of the world around them.
Speaking to the more than 500 students taking part in the summer commencement inside Trojan Arena on the Troy Campus, Shinozuka told graduates that commencement represented a new beginning rather than an ending.
“Commencement is the beginning of a new stage of your life,” he said. “Always try your hardest and gain as much experience as you can so that you can develop a better understanding of the world.”
The United States enjoys a positive image among the Japanese people, Shinozuka said.
“Our two countries share similar values,” he said. “There have been times when the United States and Japan have had differences, but we have been able to discuss those differences with mutual respect and dignity. I am confident we will be able to continue to do so in the future.”
Shinozuka said the partnership between Japan and the state of Alabama is strong and praised TROY’s internationalization efforts.
“We enjoy a great partnership with Alabama with many strong economic measures,” he said. “I believe that partnership will continue to grow.”
Shinozuka assumed the post, his first in the United States, in January 2016 and directs the consulate’s operations in Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina.
A graduate of the University of Tokyo in law, Shinozuka began his career in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1978. He was enrolled in the Foreign Students Course at the Ecole Nationale d’ Administration in Paris and, in 1991, was appointed first secretary at Japan’s Embassy in Myanmar.
In late 1993, he was appointed first secretary of Japan’s embassy in France, where he was awarded the National Order of Merit (France) for his service there.
In 1996, he joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Bureau of Economic Affairs as director of Second International Economic Affairs Division. In 1998, he became director for international cooperation at the National Institute of Research Advancement. He was appointed director of the Office of Abandoned Chemical Weapons in the Cabinet Office in 2001, and joined the Imperial Household Agency as master of ceremonies in 2004. He was promoted to vice grand master of ceremonies prior to his posting in Atlanta.
Friday’s ceremony featured students representing 17 U.S. states, the U.S. Virgin Islands and five nations outside the U.S.