Russian government officials and mayors making advances toward Okinawa

Russian government officials and mayors making advances toward Okinawa

Personally signed letter from the mayor of Rostov, Russia to Governor Denny Tamaki

October 7, 2019 Ryukyu Shimpo

Russian government officials and regional mayors are making advances toward Okinawa in the hope of increasing economic exchange with Okinawa.

In regards to his meeting with Governor Denny Tamaki in Saint Petersburg in June, Sergey Glazyev, who was appointed minister at the Eurasian Economic Commission this month, told the Ryukyu Shimpo in late September that he had a very good impression of Governor Tamaki, and expressed his hope to promote economic and personal exchange between the two regions.

The mayor of Rostov, in the southern part of Russia, also sent a personally signed letter to Governor Tamaki.

Rostov deputy mayor Alexey Izotov told the Ryukyu Shimpo that he hopes to see exchange between the town and prefecture eventually leading to a sister relationship, and expressed strong desire for such exchange.

The mayor of Rostov sent a personally addressed letter to Governor Tamaki saying, “[we have] a major interest in establishing and developing mutually beneficial relations with Japan…[starting with] Okinawa Prefecture with its profound and rich history [and] distinctive culture”.

In the letter, he expresses his wish to invite Governor Tamaki to visit Rostov.

Deputy Mayor Izotov expressed strong interest in Okinawa’s tourist industry, particularly medical tourism.

Meanwhile, Okinawa:s Vice Governor Moritake Tomikawa visited Russia from September 3 to 7, participating in the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok, in the easternmost part of Russia, and communicating with a vice mayor of the local government and a director of the local chamber of commerce.

“People in Russia find Japan and Okinawa attractive,” said Vice Governor Tomikawa, emphasizing his positive impression.

“We still don’t have much information about each other, so going forward, I hope to engage in close exchange of information and first and foremost execute a MOU (memorandum regarding cooperation) with Vladivostok and other places in the easternmost region.

If we lay down a strong foundation in places that show promise, we will be able to develop economic exchange.”

Vice Governor Tomikawa said that in his conversations in Vladivostok, there was talk of establishing a direct flight to Okinawa.

“Vladivostok is close, just a little more than three hours by direct flight.

If economic exchange progresses and starts to pay off, I think it is a great idea,” said Vice Governor Tomikawa.

In June, Governor Tamaki participated in the International Economic Forum in Saint Petersburg and also conversed with officials and businesspeople there about tourism inter-regional exchange.

At the Forum, he spoke with Glazyev for around 30 minutes, explaining the attractiveness of Okinawa’s tourism industry and that karate-related exchange between Okinawa and Russia is increasing, and asking for cooperation to achieve further increased exchange with Okinawa.

(English translation by T&CT and Sandi Aritza)

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