Today in Casablanca a Japanese soccer team is playing for the Third Hassan International Cup. The match will be televised worldwide.

At the time of Yokohama Expo in 1989, Ayako Aoki was in charge of the Moroccan booth there, and dreamed of uniting Casablanca and Yokohama in a sister-city relationship. "Morocco was exotic and mysterious to the Japanese people," she said. "Morocco was remote, a land of hot sun, desert and camels, veiled women and bearded men. I followed the aspiration of the Moroccan National Tourist Office to make travel a bridge between Morocco and Japan." Director of the Moroccan National Tourist Office in Japan, Aoki is still hoping for the realization of a sister-city program.

Aoki was born in Taiwan to a peripatetic family. She attended four primary schools in Japan, then her parents settled upon a Tokyo Catholic missionary school for her junior and senior high school education. She earned her degree in commerce from Takushoku University. "I was interested in marketing, probably because my father was in industry," she said. Traveling in her childhood and strict attention in classes account for her fluency in English.