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Mayor Walsh reaffirms sister city partnership with Kyoto, Japan

Resigning of Sister City Agreement and events throughout the week celebrate 60 years of partnership and collaboration

Today, Mayor Martin J. Walsh welcomed Daisaku Kadokawa, Mayor of Kyoto, Japan, and Kazuhiro Terada, Chair of the Kyoto City Assembly, to celebrate 60 years of the two cities' Sister City partnership with a signing ceremony to renew the agreement, reflect on the partnership, and look forward to a creative and collaborative future together. First signed in 1959, Kyoto became Boston's first Sister City and set forth a partnership focused on diplomacy to expand education, culture, commerce, and community synergies.

"I am proud to welcome Mayor Kadokawa and Chairman Terada to the City of Boston, and am grateful to them and the City of Kyoto for this strong, collaborative partnership," said Mayor Walsh. "Boston and Kyoto are both leaders in the life sciences, are hubs for education, and celebrate strong neighborhood identities. Through cultural exchanges like these, our Sister Cities program promotes Boston as an open and welcoming city in our global economy."

In Japan, 60 is a significant number. According to tradition, a person turning 60 has gone through the years of the Chinese zodiac five times and returned to his or her birth zodiac. This is seen as a rebirth (kanreki/還暦). Therefore, Boston and Kyoto have planned a series of events throughout 2019 in order to signify this rebirth of partnership and collaboration. Just this week, the Mayor's Office of Economic Development and the City of Kyoto delegation hosted a life sciences forum featuring both Kyoto and Boston companies to explore growth in both regions. The Kyoto delegation visited the Japanese House, a gift from Kyoto, at the Boston Children's Museum. Rotary Clubs from Boston and Kyoto, along with the Japan Society of Boston, will host a tree planting ceremony at the Boston Public Garden on Saturday; the tree, a gift from the Rotary Club of Kyoto South, is a Japanese Stewartia (summer camellia). Lastly the annual Japan Festival Boston April 27-28 will focus its theme on the City of Kyoto with workshops and performances.

"Kyoto and Boston share a rich history of cultural and business collaboration, and have a bright future working together, learning, and bolstering our shared economies and communities," said Mayor Daisaku Kadokawa, City of Kyoto. "I thank Mayor Walsh and the City of Boston for hosting this celebration and look forward to our renewed partnership."

Boston's Sister City programs operate as non-profit, independent organizations, and are heavily dependent on voluntary support and contributions. During the 1950s, residents and government officials recognized the importance of developing closer international relations. To date, Boston has formed eleven Sister City partnerships: Kyoto, Japan (1959); Strasbourg, France (1960); Barcelona, Spain (1980); Hangzhou, China (1982); Padua, Italy (1983); Melbourne, Australia (1985); Taipei, Taiwan (1996); Sekondi-Takoradi, Ghana (2001); Belfast, United Kingdom (2014); and Praia, Cape Verde (2015).

 The Sister Cities Program began as a national concept in 1956, when President Dwight D. Eisenhower called for massive exchanges between Americans and people of other countries to create international understanding and goodwill. A Sister City agreement is formalized when two communities from different nations join together to develop a friendly and meaningful relationship. The two cities exchange people, ideas, culture, education, and technology. Citizens from both communities learn about each other's culture and become directly involved in developing unique solutions to common problems. The Sister Cities Program promotes world peace on an individual level and encourages citizens to better understand community, by contrasting their way of life with another culture.

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