Borough Mayor John Williams and officials celebrate Progress Days with Sister City Akita, Japan delegation.
Progress Days took on an international flavor this year as the Kenai Peninsula Borough welcomed a delegation from their sister city of Akita, Japan. Mayor Satake and his wife greeted and waved to residents and visitors along the parade route down Binkley Street. “We were very pleased this year to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the sister city relationship between Akita, Japan and the Kenai Peninsula Borough. This collaboration began under the borough administration of Mayor Don Gilman and today we are honored to have Mayor Satake, his wife and delegation with us from Akita,” said Borough Mayor John Williams.
The 14 member delegation was greeted in Anchorage where the Japanese consulate hosted a welcome reception at the Captain Cook Hotel. Mayor Williams then escorted the group by car to Seward for a tour of the Kenai Fjords and then back to the Challenger Learning Center in Kenai for a local reception. According to Mayor Williams Chief of Staff Tim Navarre, Mayor Satake also visited the Borough boundaries by air and the villages of Tyonek. They were also able to visit the site of the Pebble mine and fish processing plants on the Peninsula.
Mayor Satake of Akita, Japan greets Alaskans during Soldotna Progress Days Parade.
Speaking through a translator Mayor Satake said he was enjoying the experience very much and was looking forward to welcoming Mayor Williams to Akita to participate in one of their parades. He added that he found the people of Alaska very warm and friendly and willing to work together with common purpose.
According to Mayor Williams, through the years the borough community has benefited greatly through the special cultural, social, and economic relationship that has grown with the people of Japan, “Mayor Satake has told me he is very interested in community and family life and especially economic development through our sister city relationship,” said Williams. Before returning to Japan Mayor Satake presented Mayor Williams with a plaque and silver cross to commemorate the 15 year sister city relationship with Akita. The plaque will be on display in the sister city trophy case outside the Borough Assembly Chambers at Borough Hall in Soldotna.
According to Navarre at the invitation of Mayor Satake preliminary discussions regarding a Borough delegation visit to Akita in 2009 were exchanged. “There were members of the delegation here that were part of the original sister city exchange that happened 15 years ago. They were able to have a real Alaskan experience, catch fish, and visit the plants that process fish that is shipped to their home city,” said Navarre.
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