The Journal The Authority on Global Business in Japan

After a resolution was introduced to the Continental Congress by Richard Henry Lee of Virginia in June 1776, stating that the American Colonies should be free, the Congress worked to achieve consensus on the direction this idea should take. Ultimately, they decided to draft the Declaration of Independence.

The task was first assigned to Benjamin Franklin, who demurred, refusing to write something that would be subject to editing by others. Next, it was assigned to John Adams and Thomas Jefferson. Believing it to be the best course of action for creating a document that would both inspire and garner political support, Adams insisted that Jefferson be the primary drafter. The Declaration, which still holds deep relevance and inspires reverence in the hearts of Americans, speaks boldly of respect for humanity, the equal rights of individuals, and the responsibilities of government. It set forth the lofty ideals upon which the US experiment is based. Many Americans can recite and recognize phrases from the Declaration—particularly the words pertaining to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

What many Americans may not know is that Jefferson’s draft was edited some 86 times by the Continental Congress. That Jefferson’s beautiful and epochal draft required 86 edits to pass muster should remind us of three things: Americans have always believed in and supported vigorous debate; we are capable of the most glorious of achievements; and our achievements do not always come easily.

Independence Day is a cherished holiday for Americans. For those of us overseas—often far away from friends, loved ones, and the communities we grew up in—this celebration takes on added meaning. As we celebrate the 241st anniversary of this special day, we recall the great men and women who came before us and the ideals that inspired the birth and growth of our nation, and that have influenced countless others around the globe who yearn for freedom and self-determination. Independence Day offers a chance for us to come together—with family, friends, partners, and colleagues—at receptions, parties, and barbecues to celebrate this improbable endeavor of the founders of our nation, which has demonstrated remarkable endurance, produced unprecedented prosperity, and continues to inspire other nations and peoples.

As we have the good fortune to represent the United States and to live and work in Japan, we also celebrate the deep bonds we share with our host nation. Our bilateral relationship is a pillar of economic stability, peace, and prosperity in the region and the world. Both of our nations are mature democracies built on shared values, in particular respect for individual freedoms, rule of law, and open markets. Through our collaborative endeavors, this relationship will continue to flourish.

The American Chamber of Commerce in Japan (ACCJ) is a critical partner of the US Mission and a mainstay of our bilateral relationship with Japan. For nearly 70 years, the ACCJ has brought generations of Americans and Japanese closer together through countless programs and diverse forms of engagement, including a deep and abiding commitment to social responsibility.

On Independence Day, I would like to extend the well wishes of the US Mission in Japan, together with the government and people of the United States, and share our deepest hopes that you enjoy a great Fourth of July.

Jason P. Hyland
Chargé d’Affaires
U.S. Embassy Tokyo

These companies join The Journal in wishing readers a
happy Fourth of July.


The ACCJ is a critical partner of the US Mission and a mainstay of our bilateral relationship with Japan.