IN 1997 a relationship was set in motion that today is 20 years strong – City of Rockingham’s sister city agreement with the City of Ako, Japan.
In April 1997 the City and Ako signed a sister city agreement to create opportunities for both cities to share and exchange cultural aspects and foster friendship.
Those opportunities extend to residents and groups of each City, not just officials.
A night in recognition of that relationship was celebrated at the Gary Holland Centre on November 6 with representatives from both Ako and Rockingham.
Performances were given by the Wadumbah Aboriginal Dance Group and a performance by some members of the Ako delegation.
Rockingham mayor Barry Sammels said the original agreement formalised a desire for peace and prosperity.
“When it was first signed it was the start of a very special bond between our two cities,” he said.
“It has promoted friendship and goodwill between not just our cities but between Australia and Japan.
“The relationship has given opportunities for travel between each City and fostered mutual friendship through exchanges in education, culture, sport, tourism and trade.
“Twenty years marks a milestone in our relationship which we hope will continue for years to come.
“I offer my sincere gratitude and appreciation to all the people who have contributed to this relationship through the years.”
Facts about Ako, Japan
– Ako is in the Hyogo Prefecture
– Ako was founded on September 1, 1951
– As of 2008, the city’s population was about 51,642 in a total area of 126.85sq km
– It is most famous for as the home of Chushingura, the 47 loyal samurai, and as a salt producing centre