Gov. Jay Inslee and Hyogo Gov. Toshizo Ido today officially renewed the 50-year bond between Washington and its Japanese sister state.
Inslee welcomed Gov. Ido and a delegation of 250 from the Hyogo Prefecture for a series of events to mark the anniversary of Washington's sister-state agreement with Hyogo. To celebrate the occasion, the flags of Japan and Hyogo fly today in the flag circle between the Legislative Building and the Temple of Justice, where the U.S. Navy Band will formally welcome the Hyogo delegation.
Schuyler Hoss from the Governor's Office said there is considerable interest in expanding educational exchanges between the two states. While the universities in Washington and Hyogo have longstanding relationships, officials are interested in pursuing exchanges in the K-12 system, according to Hoss.
The sister-state agreement was first signed by former Washington Gov. Al Rosellini during a 1963 visit to Japan. It is the longest-standing relationship any U.S. state has with a Japanese prefecture.
"The leaders of Hyogo and Washington had the foresight to see the benefits of working together on cultural, educational and business issues," Inslee said in remarks prepared for the friendship ceremony. "They understood that by working together we would create the special ties that would enrich both of our communities and create new opportunities for growth and exchange."
Today, the economies of Hyogo and Washington are inextricably linked. Several major Washington companies have operations in Kobe, Hyogo's largest city. The two states continue to discuss how to strengthen the bond, including exploration of new education exchange programs and expanded ties between major ports in Washington and Hyogo.
"In the next 50 years, the children of Hyogo and Washington will be standing in this room, and I hope they will view our renewal of ties as the foundation of great successes that we cannot even imagine today," Inslee said.
Public events today include a free 12:30 p.m. concert by the U.S. Navy Band near the Tivoli Fountain on the Capital Campus. The friendship ceremony will be shown live on TVW.