Newly formed group aims to strengthen familial ties to Japan

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The members of the Japan Northern Marianas Descent Association pose for a photo yesterday following the JNMDA press conference. (Kimberly A. Bautista)

A newly formed association aims to reconnect descendants of the Japanese who once lived in the Northern Marianas with their respective families not only in order to strengthen familial ties but to strengthen Japan’s ties to the islands as well.

Yesterday, Japanese Northern Marianas Descent Association president Norman Tenorio and officials of the group held a press conference to inform the community of their newly formed association that is heavily supported by Japan Consul to the CNMI, Kinji Shinoda.

“We are here to announce the formation of the Japan Northern Marianas Descent Association. This association’s main goal is to promote and support the ties between the CNMI and Japan…and to also strengthen the ties between the people of Japan and the people of the Commonwealth,” he said.

Tenorio said that the association’s main goal is to locate the families of NMDs of Japanese descent and connect them.

“The association aims to find and reconnect those families who have lost contact or connection after many past years…I would like to convey to the community that the JNMDA is open to anyone interested to join in the hopes of reconnecting the people of Japan and the people of the Commonwealth,” he said.

According to Shinoda, since his arrival back in May 2017, he has seen the plummeting numbers in Japanese tourists and Japanese businesses.

“I feel pity that the historical ties between Japan and the CNMI, we are slowly losing…Japanese businesses and Japanese tourists are getting smaller and smaller almost every month until finally a few months ago the direct flight between Japan and Saipan [Delta Airlines] pulled out. That means that Japan and CNMI no longer have that direct contact. It means that our mental distance…is getting farther and farther,” he said.

Shinoda said that he completely appreciates and supports the efforts behind the establishment of the association.

“This is why I highly appreciate Uncle Dave (David M. Sablan) and president Norm and attorney Vince (Seman) for the tremendous effort to establish this association and I sincerely hope that this association will be the starting point to make once again historical tie between Japan and the Northern Marianas,” he said.

Tenorio said that the JNMDA is open to anyone and is not limited to just Japanese descendants.

“We hope that individuals who are interested to join the association are kindly welcomed…it is a nonprofit and nonpolitical nature, it is purely a good-willed group of people looking over the interests of the community and extending in any way possible to help enhance our economic development especially in our tourist industry,” he said.

During the press conference yesterday, the association also offered a moment of silence and a short prayer for those families who are currently suffering from the devastation brought by Super Typhoon Maria that passed the Ryukyu Islands early this week.

Kimberly B. Esmores | Reporter
Kimberly Albiso Bautista has covered a wide range of news beats, including the community, housing, crime, and more. She now covers sports for the Saipan Tribune. Contact her at kimberly_bautista@saipantribune.com.

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