Both Governors swear new era of exchange on 30th anniversary of Hawaii-Okinawa Sister-State Relationship
October 10, 2015 Ryukyu Shimpo
The 30th anniversary ceremony of a sister-state affiliation between Okinawa and Hawaii was held on the evening of October 9 at the Loisir Hotel & Spa Tower Naha in Naha.
Okinawa Governor Takeshi Onaga and Hawaii Governor David Ige expressed gratitude towards their predecessors who have passed down a long-standing human bond. It has been more than 100 years since the first Uchinanchu immigrants moved to Hawaii in 1900.
Upon the 30th anniversary of the sister-state relationship between the island societies, the leaders vowed that they would build a new era of exchange to build human resources and develop academic affairs, including promoting cooperation in the energy field.
Governor Onaga and Governor Ige exchanged memorial gifts including an Okinawan Sabani boat, an eku (paddle) and a Hawaiian canoe paddle.
The gifts signify the shared wish of the two governors: “They, who live on similar islands floating in the Pacific Ocean, will paddle together in order to create a peaceful and secure world.”
In his address, Governor Onaga stated that: “We updated the agreement on cooperation for development of new energy sources between the two states, and confirmed a cultural academic exchange program between the Okinawa Prefectural University of Arts and its counterparts in July, when I visited Hawaii. That marked a new step in the history of our friendship. It is significant that Mr. Ige was elected as the first Uchinanchu Governor in Hawaii. I hope Mr. Ige can contribute his energy to promoting peace and development in the Asia-Pacific region.”
Governor Ige said: “more than 100 years have passed since my grandfather moved to Hawaii from Okinawa in 1907. We are connected by ties of friendship and family members. It is an honor for me to attend a ceremony to celebrate the 30 years of the sister-state relations between Hawaii and Okinawa. I hope the relationship between the two states will last forever.
The wives of the governors stood on stage, accompanying their husbands.
Governor Onaga invited Govenor Ige to attend the 6th World Uchinanchu Festival, which will be held in October next year.
U.S. Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy, President Mark Higa of the Hawaii United Okinawa Association (HUOA) and Okinawa Prefectural Assembly Chairman Masaharu Kina made celebration speeches.
Senator Gilbert Kahele and Representative Ryan Yamane from Hawaii State Capitol attended the ceremony.
Governor Ige took part in a parade and the key event for the Naha Giant Tug-of-War festival on October 10 and 11.
(English translation by T&CT)
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