Friendship Blossoms Launched–Send Off at US National Arboretum

November 15, 2012 

Japanese, US and Corporate Partners Celebrate the Friendship Blossoms Launch — photo credit: Jory Heckman

Officials from the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs and the U.S.-Japan Bridging Foundation  held a “send-off” ceremony on October 22, 2012, at the U.S. National Arboretum for the first 100 dogwood trees of the Friendship Blossoms Initiative.  Joining the Department of State and the U.S.-Japan Bridging Foundation at the event were the Honorable Ichiro Fujisaki, Ambassador of Japan to the United States, as well as representatives from the U.S. National Arboretum, which is providing its expertise to support this initiative; representatives from corporate partners who have generously assisted this public-private initiative, including UPS, Chevron, Coca-Cola and Caterpillar; and other individuals from organizations that promote close U.S.-Japan ties.

This initiative, a public-private partnership between the Department of State and the U.S.-Japan Bridging Foundation, commemorates the centennial anniversary of Japan’s gift of 3,000 cherry trees as a token of friendship between our two nations.  To honor the next 100 years of U.S. – Japan friendship, U.S. officials announced the United States’ gift of 3,000 American dogwood trees to the people of Japan during the April 30 visit of Prime Minister Noda to Washington.  Paige Cottingham-Streater, Executive Director of the US-Japan Bridging Foundation explains, “The Friendship Blossoms–Dogwood Initiative is a symbol of the enduring friendship between Japan and the United States and a wonderful opportunity for people-to-people exchange.”

The trees have been carefully selected by the U.S. National Arboretum for their durability and beauty from Holly Hill Farms in Maryland and Hawksridge Farms in North Carolina. The 139 dogwoods that will be sent off include Appalachian Snow, Sweetwater Red, Cherokee Chief, Cherokee Brave, and Cherokee Princess. Of these trees, 66 Appalachian Snow and 34 Sweetwater Red will be the first to be planted on November 16 in Tokyo’s Yoyogi Park.

In total, the 3,000 American dogwood trees will be planted in Tokyo, the Tohoku region – the area recovering from the Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011 – and in other locations around Japan over the next several years.

Click here for more information on the Friendship Blossoms Initiative