Plaque marks gift of 3,000 dogwoods


Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda received a plaque Monday from U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton commemorating the U.S. presentation to Japan this year of 3,000 dogwood trees “as an enduring symbol of friendship.”

“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,” Clinton said during a dinner with Noda and others, which she hosted in Washington.

The dogwood trees will be presented to Japan from the United States as the two nations mark the 100th anniversary of the gift to Washington of 3,000 cherry trees by Tokyo in 1912, the two governments said Monday.

“There is no better symbol of our enduring friendship than the cherry blossoms that have been announcing the arrival of springtime in Washington for 100 years,” Clinton said.

The 100th anniversary “is a perfect opportunity” to strengthen bilateral ties, Noda was quoted by the Foreign Ministry as saying during the event.

Prior to the dinner, Noda met with Charles Bolden, administrator of NASA, and Japanese astronauts Koichi Wakata and Satoshi Furukawa, as well as former U.S. astronauts.

During the meeting, Noda expressed his eagerness to nurture young people seeking careers in space exploration, vowing to advance bilateral cooperation in the field, the Foreign Ministry said.