This year our city, Hadano (Kanagawa Prefecture), celebrates 50 years of friendship with Pasadena, Texas. Pasadena’s official good will mission group visited Hadano this month in memory of our sister-city history. Exchange programs involving students, teachers, citizens, music groups, sports and so on have made the two cities very good friends.
The friendship receives great support from volunteers who issue newsletters in English, interpret, and arrange programs. In particular, when host family volunteers have had guests from Pasadena for a few days, the family members and guests have gone on to become close friends.
Such friendships last a lifetime. Pasadena is not just an unknown city on a world map, but a place where our neighbors live, whom we know very well!
American and Japanese people know of the beautiful cherry blossoms along the Potomac Basin near Washington. In 1912, Tokyo gave 3,000 cherry trees to Washington. Celebrating the 100-year anniversary of that gift in 2012, the U.S. gave 3,000 dogwood trees to Japan. Since then, dogwood trees have been planted in various places around Japan as “Friendship Blossom Trees,” including in that part of Tohoku now recovering from the March 2011 earthquake.
Recently two dogwood trees were planted in our city as an expression of the everlasting friendship between Pasadena and Hadano.
It was U.S. President Dwight David Eisenhower who in 1956 proposed a people-to-people program that is said to have been the seed for the sister city program.
Considering the present world situation, I would like to propose a government-to-government program in addition to the people-to-people program. How about creating a sister government? It’s probably too difficult to realize, so let’s continue the sister city relationships that will grow tall and strong, contributing to uniting not only cities but also, I pray, governments of the world in the future.
The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.