Governor Lingle with Masaru Onishi, president & COO of Japan Airlines.
Governor Lingle with Masaru Onishi, president & COO of Japan Airlines.

Continuing her mission in Asia, Governor Lingle is in Japan and met yesterday with Minister Seiji Maehara of Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT).

The Governor thanked Maehara-san for his support of internationalizing Haneda Airport.  In October, Hawai`i will welcome daily flights by Hawaiian and Japan Airlines with the opening of the new runway at Haneda Airport. She also shared with Mr. Maehara information about the investments Hawai`i is making in its airports to improve efficiency and customer satisfaction.  Also attending the meeting were Japanese officials Mr. Odaka, director of International Tourism Policy; Mr. Ohkuchi, vice minister for International Affairs and Mr. Tamura, assistant vice minister for International Affairs.

Following the meeting at MLIT, the Governor met with Takashi Sasaki, chairman of JTB Corporation; Yoshito Kobayashi, executive officer of JTB World Vacations; and Toru Furusawa, general manager of International Affairs and Tourism Promotion.

Governor Lingle thanked JTB for their support of the 11 ANA Charter flights that will be coming to Hawai`i this summer (July – August) and for their support of Hawaiian Airlines’ Haneda flight.  She also congratulated them on the 16 anniversary of the Honolulu Festival this year and the upcoming 100 anniversary of JTB in 2012.  They discussed a possible joint promotion between Hawai`i and JTB in celebration of their anniversary in 2012.

At Japan Airlines (JAL), the Governor met with Masaru Onishi, president and COO; Tadashi Fujita, executive officer of Passenger Sales & Marketing; Kiyoto Morioka, vice president of Passenger Sales Planning; and Norihiko Kino, vice president of Tourism Promotion. Governor Lingle thanked JAL for their many years of friendship to Hawai`i and the support they have given to Hawai`i’s visitor industry.  Mr. Onishi shared his appreciation of the state’s support of JAL and stressed the importance of their partnership with Hawai`i.

Later in the day, Makoto Onishi, president and CEO of JALPAK, welcomed Governor Lingle to his office to discuss various tourism-related issues.  During the discussions, Mr. Onishi pledged JALPAK’s continued support of Hawai`i.  He was pleased that Japanese visitors to Hawai`i had increased compared to last year.  The Governor reiterated the state’s commitment to improving the visitors’ overall airport experience.

Travel journalists from Wing Travel, Travel Vision, Travel Journal, Kanko Keizai Shimbun, Weekly Diamond, Nikkei Business and Hawai`i Podcast, Orbitune Inc. met with Governor Lingle to discuss Hawai`i’s commitment to increasing travel from Japan.  She shared information about the Airports Modernization Program and the Waikiki Beach sand replenishment project.  The news conference was followed by a reception attended by approximately 60 travel partners in Japan.

The Governor invited all of Hawai`i’s travel partners and the media to attend the opening and dedication ceremony of the International Arrivals Corridor in September.

Last evening, Governor Lingle took part in the signing of a Memorandum of Cooperation between the U.S. Department of Energy; the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan; Okinawa Governor Nakaima and the State of Hawaii. The Hawai`i-Okinawa Partnership on Clean and Efficient Energy Development and Deployment furthers Okinawa and Hawai`i’s initiatives in clean energy development (separate news release with additional detail to follow with pictures).

Additional updates are on Governor Lingle’s website at www.hawaii.gov/gov

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