The House chamber in the state Capitol took on an international flavor late this afternoon during a ceremony to recognize Lloyd T. Hardin Jr., who recently was named honorary consul general of Japan at Oklahoma City.
As honorary consul general, Hardin, 57, an Oklahoma City attorney, will work to promote bilateral relations between Japan and the United States. He succeeds Yoshi Sasaki of Norman.
Yoshihiko Kamo, Japan’s consul general at Houston, who has been a member of Japan’s foreign service since 1976, attended the hour-long ceremony, as did Gov. Brad Henry and Lt. Gov. Jari Askins.
Henry noted that Oklahoma has had diplomatic ties with Japan for more than one-fifth of the state’s nearly 100 years of existence.
Oklahoma has enjoyed a friendly connection with Japan since 1985 through the sister-state relationship between Oklahoma and Kyoto Prefecture. Stillwater, Tulsa, Shawnee and Norman have established sister-city relationships with Japanese cities as well.
“We have developed not just strong business ties with our friends in Japan, we have truly developed real and personal and long-lasting relationships,” Henry said. “We’ve developed friendships.”
Hardin, who has made several trips to Japan, said the Japanese place “the greatest of emphasis” on personal relationships that are the foundation for commerce and business.