AVOIDING conflict and promoting peace is one of the motives behind a 20-year relationship between Bunbury and sister city Setagaya, Japan.
City of Bunbury leaders and staff, including Mayor David Smith and chief executive officer Andrew Brien, flew to Setagaya to strengthen ties with the city.
But intense storms lashing Bunbury on Sunday and Tuesday night have threatened to cut the trip short as Mayor Smith debated whether to fly home early.
He said the cities’ bond had developed many close personal friendships over the years, but it was also about international peace.
“The warmth and hospitality of its people is a feature of these visits, but considerable emphasis is placed on the purpose of these relations, which is to promote international understanding and friendship with a view to avoiding conflict and promoting peace.”
Mayor Smith said the city placed importance on culture and the arts and had a large amount of parkland, a major museum and an art gallery.
“Like most overseas local governments, (Setagaya) has many more responsibilities than Australian local governments and a budget of more than US $3 billion,” he said.
The sister city relationship began with the signing of a friendship agreement on October 14, 1992.
It was signed by former City of Bunbury Mayor Dr Ern Manea and Setagaya Mayor Keiji Ohba.
Setagaya is the largest ward of Tokyo with a population of 840,000.