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Home > Policies & Initiatives: International Exchange > Sister-State Relationships

SISTER-STATE RELATIONSHIPS

Long-Term Ties with Zhejiang Province

Shizuoka Prefecture established its friendship tie with China's Zhejiang Province in 1982. This relationship was based in part on the two regions’ similar climates and the fact that Zhejiang is the birthplace of tea and mikan tangerines, both of which are major agricultural products in Shizuoka. Over the past quarter-century, ties have flourished and included connections at the economic, educational, sports and cultural levels. In addition to the state-level connection, there are also a number of sister-city connections that enhance the relationship, including high-school student visits. Celebrations are being planned for 2007 to mark the 25th anniversary of this fruitful relationship in both regions.

Zhejiang Province

Shizuoka high-school students visit Zhejian Province.

Connecting with Britain's West Midlands

In 2001, on the occasion of a visit to the UK by Shizuoka’s governor, a formal partnership agreement was established between the prefecture and the West Midlands, home to the UK’s second-largest city, Birmingham. Activities to date have mainly focused on the arts, culture and sports, including the creation of an English garden at the Pacific Flora flower expo in 2004 and football matches at the 7th Shizuoka World Junior Football Tournament in 2006. With a visit to the West Midlands by Shizuoka’s vice governor in early 2007, the relationship will continue to strengthen in the coming years.

West Midlands

Governor Ishikawa and boys from West Midlands’ Wolverhampton Wanderers football team

Warm Sister City Ties

Aside from efforts at the prefectural level, there is also a great deal of activity to develop international relationships at the city and town level. Of the 42 cities and towns in Shizuoka Prefecture, 25 have sister-city relationships with 46 towns in 11 countries. The United States accounts for 22, by far the largest, followed by Australia at 5, Canada at 4, New Zealand at 2, and several others. Shizuoka City’s sister city of Omaha, Nebraska, won the 2006 Sister Cities International award in the “Arts & Culture: Population Greater than 100,000” category for a friendship gate built at the Omaha Lauritzen Botanical Gardens. The gate is a 1/3 replica of Shizuoka’s Sunpu Gate, which dates to 1600.