Message from Consul-General, Ms. SUGITA Akiko

2020/6/30
Message from Consul-General, Ms. SUGITA Akiko

I assumed Consul General of Japan in Bengaluru. Prior to coming to Bengaluru, I was working at the Embassy of Japan in Singapore for almost three years. I think that there are two things in common between Bengaluru and Singapore.

One is that both are called “Garden City.” Singapore is known as “Garden City,” and Bengaluru is also called “Garden City” for its rich greenery. Secondly, both are known as global hubs for technology and innovation. In Singapore, public and private sectors have jointly taken the initiative in building a network called the Global Innovation Alliance (GIA) which connects technology and innovation hubs with major market cities in the world. Bengaluru is one of the partner cities in the GIA network.

 

About 20 years ago, I was working at the Consulate General of Japan in San Francisco. Silicon Valley is situated within its jurisdiction where many prominent IT enterprises of America have their headquarters. Bengaluru also holds headquarters and offices of enterprises in the fields of IT, biotechnology, aviation, electronics among others and is called “Silicon Valley of India.” I hope to be able to gain valuable experiences by learning the primary focuses and directions of the ever-growing IT industries during my stay in the "Silicon Valley of India" and based on my humble experiences of living close to the Silicon Valley in the United States. 

 

We believe that the relationship between the State of Karnataka, where Bengaluru is located, and Japan has been developing year by year. First, from the economic perspective, the number of Japanese companies increased from 476 to 529 for three years around 2016, 17 and 18 with growing exchange activities. As a result, the number of visas issued by the Consulate General of Japan in Bengaluru in three years from 2016 to 2019 marked an increase.

 

As for the area of cultural exchange, while the number of JLPT examinees stood about 1,600 in 2017, it showed a remarkable increase to reach over 4,500 in 2019, and the number of participants in the cultural events held by the Consulate General of Japan doubled in three years between 2016 and 2019. It is a pleasure to see people in Karnataka seem to be more interested in Japanese language and culture. The Consulate General of Japan has hosted the “Cosplay Walk” (it was suspended in the year 2020), in which cosplayers from all over India gathered in Bengaluru for a fun walk in the city in March for the past few years. Through this event, we would like to make Bengaluru a base to introduce pop-culture of Japan in India.

 

Kempegowda International Airport (KIA) was connecting Bengaluru with 20 cities in 2018. In 2019, the direct flights to Amsterdam and Addis Ababa were launched, and it is said that they are planning to increase the number of destinations from the year 2020 going forward. With the completion of the second runway in 2019 and the opening of the second terminal in the near future, KIA is expected to grow and so is Bengaluru into an even more cosmopolitan city as well.

 

In the midst of such a growing trend, Japan Airlines is scheduled to launch its operation of a direct flight between Bengaluru and Tokyo. We sincerely hope that this direct flight will not only increase inbound and outbound flow of people between Japan and South India but also will promote exchanges of people between South India and North America including San Francisco via Tokyo. Since aforementioned GIA's network includes Tokyo and San Francisco, it is expected that this direct flight will help to make the GIA network even more actively engaged.

 

From these various viewpoints, I am very excited to be able to work in Bengaluru, a wonderful city blessed with many charms.

 

Since March 2020, the Covid-19 infection has rapidly spread throughout the world, and the Government of India has taken measures of a nationwide lockdown for a substantial period. Although the economy may resume step-by-step, the challenging tasks of steering may continue for awhile in order to keep the economic activities while preventing the further spread of the Covid-19 infection.

 

It is such a challenging time where we stand, however, we at the Consulate-General of Japan in Bengaluru would like to continue to work with the Japanese Association of Bangalore and the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Bangalore based on the various achievements and groundwork laid by the first Consul-General Mr. KITAGAWA Takayuki. We hope to make our utmost efforts to promote economic activities and cultural exchanges between Karnataka and Japan and to discharge our responsibility to promote the safety and well-being of the Japanese residents in Karnataka.