Okinawa, Hawaii celebrate 30th anniversary of establishment of sister-state relations

Okinawa, Hawaii celebrate 30th anniversary of establishment of sister-state relations

Okinawa Governor Takeshi Onaga and Hawaii Governor David Ige enjoy Okinawa kachashi dance at the end of the celebration dinner for the 30th anniversary of the establishment of sister state relations between Okinawa and Hawaii on the evening of July 10 in Honolulu.


July 12, 2015 Shoichiro Yonamine of Ryukyu Shimpo reports from Honolulu

Okinawa Governor Takeshi Onaga attended a dinner held at the Hawaii governor’s official residence to celebrate the 30th anniversary of sister-state relations in the evening of July 10.

Hawaii Governor David Ige, a third-generation Japanese-American of Okinawan decent, called for further exchange between people in the two states. He said, “As a governor of Okinawan decent, I want friendly relations to continue in the future.”

Onaga invited the Hawaii Governor to attend a ceremony for the 30th anniversary of the establishment of a sister-state relationship between Okinawa and Hawaii, scheduled to be held in Okinawa in October.

Prior to the celebration dinner, the governors signed an updated memorandum of understanding on cooperation for clean energy.

After the dinner, Onaga remarked; “In the context of Hawaii, I would like to consider setting up something positive–an organization based on the spirit of “Bankoku Shinryo” (a bridge between nations).” He showed an eagerness to set up an institution in Okinawa for exchange and research in the Pacific Ocean region.

On July 11, other Hawaii-related events were held, including a groundbreaking ceremony for the Hawaii Okinawa Plaza and a forum by the Ryukyu Shimpo were held.

The state government and the Hawaii Okinawa Federation hosted the anniversary celebration dinner, in which guests from Okinawa, the Okinawa Hawaii Association and private companies were invited. Former Hawaii governor George Ariyoshi, who signed the agreement on the sister state affiliation between Hawaii and Okinawa 30 years ago was also invited to the dinner.

Onaga stated; “Okinawa and Hawaii have accumulated a history of exchange and friendship for more than 100 years, following the immigration of Okinawans to Hawaii in 1899. We are proud that many people from Okinawa have been very active and successful in Hawaii. I would like to express my heartfelt thanks to the state government and people of Hawaii who have supported and encouraged the immigrants from Okinawa.” He vowed to strengthen ties with Hawaii and keep them strong for the next generations.

The two governors updated the five-year clean energy cooperation agreement between Hawaii and Okinawa, which was signed in 2010, for the next five years. Four organizations, including Okinawa Prefectural Government, Hawaii State Government, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan and the U.S. Department of Energy, will continue to work on joint research and development of new energy based in Okinawa and Hawaii.

The Hawaii Government has enacted legislation to switch all fossil fuels to renewable energy by 2045. Ige said, “The two regions have many similarities; they consist of islands and have a high dependence on fossil fuels. The joint project will help to produce a lot of good effects.”

(English translation by T&CT)

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