Bunbury and Setagaya are set to celebrate 25 years of the Sister City relationship later this month.
A delegation of 13 dignitaries from Setagaya will join City of Bunbury staff and elected members in a range of events between October 29 and November 1 that will highlight the strong bond that has been forged between the two cities over a quarter of a century.
Setagaya Mayor Nobuto Hosaka will lead the delegation of councillors and staff, who will enjoy events including a Japanese Film Festival, exhibition rugby match and Mayoral dinner.
They will also attend a Bunbury City Council meeting, which will be followed by the ‘councillor olympics’ featuring elected members from both cities who will compete in fun activities.
While enjoyment is a key factor of the visit, so is building on and celebrating the exchange in trade, tourism, sport, culture and education that has resulted in tangible benefits for both cities.
City of Bunbury senior internal relations officer Carol McDowall said the sister city relationship had forged strong bonds between people from both cities.
“Exchanges including students and people involved in arts, sport, culture and trade over the past 25 years have played a major role in fostering such close ties between Bunbury and Setagaya,” Ms McDowall said.
“Japan is also an important force in our economy, being WA’s second-largest export and import market, which highlights the importance of the bond between Bunbury and Setagaya.”
Bunbury Mayor Gary Brennan said the community was invited to be involved in the celebrations.
“This is an opportunity for everyone in our city to join us in celebration of this milestone and to extend the hand of friendship to Setagaya and the visiting dignitaries,” Mr Brennan said.
The delegation has a strong interest in social services and they will meet with the senior citizens centre and also visit Headspace and the Department of Communities.
Local school visits have also been organised, along with a tour of Bunbury and Ferguson Valley tourist attractions and a meeting with the South West Development Commission to discuss the Transforming Bunbury’s Waterfront project.
The Japanese consul-general Tatsuo Hirayama will also attend official functions, including a reaffirmation ceremony to mark the strength of the Sister City relationship, while WA Governor Kerry Sanderson will be a guest at the official dinner.