Special Advisor for Children’s Issues to Travel to Japan and the Republic of Korea

Special Advisor for Children’s Issues to Travel to Japan and the Republic of Korea

Media Note

Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
December 1, 2017

The Special Advisor for Children’s Issues, Suzanne Lawrence, will travel to Tokyo and Seoul from December 4-14.

Special Advisor Lawrence will lead the U.S. delegation in a conference focused on the Hague Abduction Convention in Tokyo, which will provide an opportunity to engage with representatives from countries throughout the Asia Pacific region on the critical issue of international parental child abduction. The Special Advisor will also meet with government officials in both Tokyo and Seoul to discuss intercountry adoption and international parental child abduction issues.

The United States is dedicated to supporting intercountry adoption as a viable option for children in need of permanency, and to preventing and resolving international parental child abduction cases.

For more information about the Department of State’s Office of Children’s Issues, visit: www.adoption.state.gov and www.travel.state.gov/childabduction

Source:  “Special Advisor on Children’s Issues to travel to Japan and the Republic of Korea”, US Department of State press release, 1 December 2017

Our Leadership

Suzanne Lawrence
Special Advisor for Children’s Issues
U.S. Department of State
Bureau of Consular Affairs

Ambassador Suzanne Lawrence

Suzanne Lawrence is the Special Advisor for Children’s Issues. Prior to arriving in Washington, she served as the Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Athens, Greece. Ms. Lawrence has also served as a Senior Advisor for the Assistant Secretary in the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs.

Ms. Lawrence is a career member of the U.S. Senior Foreign Service, class of Minister-Counselor. Previously, she has served as the Director of the Senior Level Division in the Office of Career Development and Assignments in the Bureau of Human Resources, and as Director of the Office of Policy Coordination and Public Affairs for the Bureau of Consular Affairs.

Overseas, Ms. Lawrence was the U.S. Country Consular Coordinator for Australia and Deputy Principal Officer and Consular Section Chief at the U.S. Consulate General in Sydney, Australia. Ms. Lawrence also has served overseas in Jerusalem, Dublin and Caracas.

Domestically, Ms. Lawrence has worked as a desk officer in the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs, as the East Asia and Pacific Division Chief in the Office of Overseas Citizens Services/American Citizens Services and Crisis Management, and as the spokesperson for the Bureau of Consular Affairs.

Suzanne holds a Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service. Her graduate studies include a Master’s degree in international management from the American Graduate School of International Management (“Thunderbird”) and a Master’s degree in strategic studies from the National War College at the National Defense University.

Suzanne is married and has a daughter.

Source:  US Department of State (accessed on 11 December 2017)

Prime Minister visits Japan

Foreign &

Press release

PM heads to Japan to build strong post-Brexit relationship with Tokyo

The Prime Minister begins a new era of strengthening Britain’s ties and influence in Asia with an ambitious three-day trip to Japan.

Senate confirms Hagerty as new U.S. ambassador to Japan

The Japan Times


Senate confirms Hagerty as new U.S. ambassador to Japan


The Senate has confirmed Tennessee businessman William Hagerty as President Donald Trump’s ambassador to Japan.

Senators voted 86-12 Thursday to approve Hagerty’s nomination.

Hagerty, 57, is expected to take up the post in August, according to a source familiar with Japan-U.S. relations.

He will serve in Tokyo at a time when the security environment in the Asia-Pacific region has become increasingly severe amid China’s military buildup and territorial ambitions in the East and South China seas, as well as North Korea’s development of ballistic missiles that could strike as far as the United States.

In light of Trump’s calls for “fair” trade, Hagerty, who served as a key member of the Trump transition team, is expected to call for greater market access for U.S. products in Japan as part of an effort to reduce the U.S. trade deficit with the country.

“We sincerely welcome the confirmation,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a news conference, pointing out that Trump has great trust in Hagerty.

“We hope to strengthen bilateral ties to ensure that the Japan-U.S. alliance, which is a cornerstone for Japan’s foreign and security policies, is unwavering,” the top government spokesman said.

State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert also welcomed the Senate vote, saying, “We’re looking forward to having him join Japan as our next U.S. ambassador.”

“He spent a good deal of time over there. I know he’s steeped in the issues,” Nauert told a news briefing.

In a Senate confirmation hearing on May 18, Hagerty reaffirmed Washington’s “ironclad” commitment to its alliance with Tokyo, calling it “the cornerstone of regional peace and security” and “a platform for global cooperation.”

The ambassador-in-waiting underlined the United States’ “unwavering” commitment to the defense of the Senkaku Islands, a group of islets administered by Japan but also claimed by China and Taiwan, in accordance with the Japan-U.S. security treaty.

Hagerty stressed the need for close coordination with Japan and trilaterally with South Korea in pressing North Korea “to abandon its unlawful nuclear, ballistic missile and proliferation programs.”

On the economic front, Hagerty pledged to help increase U.S. exports to Japan in areas such as agriculture, defense and manufacturing including automobiles.

He added that U.S. exports of energy such as liquid natural gas to Japan could significantly cut into the trade deficit.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee gave its OK to Hagerty last month after he satisfied Democrats that he had no role in the screening of Michael Flynn, Trump’s former national security adviser.

Flynn is a central figure in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into contacts between the Trump campaign and Russia. Congressional committees also are examining Moscow’s election meddling.

Hagerty was director of presidential appointments for Trump’s transition team. But he told Democrats he focused on Cabinet picks and not White House staff aides.

Hagerty is a founder and managing director of Hagerty Peterson & Co., a private equity investment firm in Nashville, Tennessee.

Hagerty built ties with Japan through a three-year posting to Tokyo from the late 1980s to early 1990s while working for the Boston Consulting Group, and in his work as commissioner of economic development for Tennessee from 2011 to 2015.

Meanwhile, Joseph Young, who has served as director for Japanese affairs at the State Department, is also slated to arrive in Japan next month to assume the post of deputy chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo.

Source:  “Senate confirms Hagerty as new US ambassador to Japan”, The Japan Times, 14 July 2017

Abe, other dignitaries attend groundbreaking ceremony for Tokyo’s new Olympic stadium

The Japan Times

Abe, other dignitaries attend groundbreaking ceremony for Tokyo’s new Olympic stadium


Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is confident that the new National Stadium will provide an iconic stage for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, he said at the groundbreaking ceremony Sunday.

The main construction work on the stadium in Shinjuku Ward began Dec. 1, about 14 months later than planned, after the original design plans by the late Iraqi-British architect Zaha Hadid were discarded following a public outcry over bloated cost estimates.

“When we scrapped the original plan last July, I vowed to make the new venue one that will be celebrated by the people and the athletes, a place that can generate dreams and inspiration,” Abe said.

“The new image of the stadium will realize ‘an athlete first’ policy with the best universal design in the world and some Japanese flavor,” he said. “I am very confident that this can be the stronghold of sports and culture for the new era.”

The government settled last December on a design by architect Kengo Kuma, also present at the ceremony, who collaborated with construction company Taisei Corp. and building planner Azusa Sekkei Co.

The stadium operator, the Japan Sport Council, agreed on a contract worth about ¥149 billion this October with a joint venture including Taisei. Kuma the same month revealed Japanese-style interior design schemes.

“The 2020 Games will be the first time the IOC’s Agenda 2020 will be put into practice. The program emphasizes the legacy of the games and environmental sustainability. I’m sure the new National Stadium will be a symbol for that,” Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike said at the ceremony. “I hope the new National Stadium will be a multifunctional legacy after the games … and one that will be loved by people for a long time to come.”

The ceremony ended with a video replete with computer graphics showing how the stadium is expected to look like and function when it is completed in November 2019.

Koike took office in July pledging to host a cost-efficient and environmentally friendly 2020 Olympics.

She has lambasted organizers for failing to keep costs under control.

Fans of the old stadium, built in the late 1950s, lobbied to keep and renovate it. But in the end the government opted to replace it with a more modern facility.

Kuma chose a wooden lattice design that echoes traditional styles seen in Japanese shrines and pagodas. It is intended to blend in with surrounding parkland and will be structured to minimize costs for heating and cooling.

The structure will use Japanese-grown larch in its wood and steel composite roof and prefabricated panels to help speed the work along and contain costs.

Source:  “Abe, other dignitaries attend groundbreaking ceremony for Tokyo’s new Olympic stadium”, The Japan Times, 11 December 2016 

(Final) logo for 2020 Tokyo Olympics

The Japan Times

Baseball legend Sadaharu Oh (left) and Logo Selection Committee Chairman Ryohei Miyata announce the official emblems for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games during a ceremony in Tokyo on Monday. | YOSHIAKI MIURA

Checkered pattern by artist Tokolo chosen as logo for 2020 Tokyo Olympics


Staff Writer

Apr 25, 2016

Tokyo 2020 Olympics organizers on Monday chose logo A — a stark indigo-and-white checkered circle — as the games’ replacement emblem after the original design was scrapped last year amid claims of plagiarism.

The Tokyo 2020 Logo Selection Committee chose the logo from a shortlist of four following a competition open to any resident of Japan aged over 18. Almost 15,000 entries were submitted.

The winning logo was designed by Asao Tokolo, a 46-year-old artist whose works have featured in several exhibitions and who graduated in architecture from Tokyo Zokei University.

“I was thinking of something like a coloring picture that everyone can add their own color to,” Tokolo said. “White against indigo blue — it’s a very clean-cut expression. The games will also be held during summertime and I wanted to add some coolness into my design.”

The design comprises 45 interconnecting pieces forming a checkered pattern known as ichimatsu moyou. Use of the color indigo is intended “to express a refined elegance and sophistication that exemplifies Japan.”

“The committee found this checkered pattern to be very simple and we can feel the refined sophistication of the Japanese tradition,” said Logo Selection Committee Chairman Ryohei Miyata.

“On the other hand, there were people who said it was understated or it made their eyes flash,” he said. “I very much hope that the emblems will prove popular with people everywhere, and we look forward to your continued support toward the Tokyo 2020 Games.”

The Logo Selection Committee, featuring members drawn from the worlds of sports, design and business, held a vote Monday morning before presenting its recommendation to the Tokyo 2020 executive board for final approval.

Tokolo’s design received 13 votes, while logo B had one, logo C two and logo D five. The winning logo was unanimously approved by the executive board.

“Since Sept. 11, 2001, I started a particular concept,” Tokolo said. “There was a big disconnect in the world because of terrorism so I wanted to connect things. This design is based on a similar philosophy.

“I can’t be an athlete, but this was something I could get involved in. I always dreamed of that as a child.”

Tokolo will be awarded ¥1 million and a ticket to the opening ceremonies of both the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics.

The logo competition was launched last October after the original logo by designer Kenjiro Sano was scrapped. The designer of a Belgian theater logo claimed Sano had plagiarized his work.

“During this process we have tried to convey as much information as possible in order to be as transparent as possible,” said Miyata.

He bristled at suggestions that the selection committee had already made up its mind before the 10-day public consultation process began.

“We didn’t start with Plan A in mind,” he said. “That was not the process and we were irritated by this report. We worked with the best sincerity so as not to be subjected to these kind of comments. Everybody spoke their minds and then we went to the voting process.”

The Logo Selection Committee chose a shortlist of four designs and four backups in January before subjecting them to rigorous copyright checks. One of the designs on the original shortlist failed to clear the copyright checks and was subsequently dropped.

The committee also invited members of the public to voice their opinion on the shortlist following its April 8 unveiling.

“This time the big theme was participation,” said Tokyo 2020 Chief Executive Officer Toshiro Muto.

“This logo selection process was the first of its kind. For us it was a challenging project, but I think it could serve as a model for future selection.”

The committee received opinions from 39,712 members of the public online and an additional 1,804 comments written on postcards.

Source:  “Checkered pattern by artist Tokolo chosen as logo for 2020 Tokyo Olympics”, The Japan Times, 25 April 2016