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Renton Welcomes Sister City Delegation from Nishiwaki, Japan

October 28, 2014

For more information contact:
Sonja Mejlaender
, Community Relations and Events, 425-430-6514
Preeti Shridhar, Deputy Public Affairs Administrator 425-430-6569

Renton, WA – The City of Renton and the Renton-Nishiwaki Committee, as part of the Renton Sister Cities Association, recently hosted a 20-member delegation from Nishiwaki, Japan, in celebration of the 45th anniversary of the Renton-Nishiwaki relationship (1969-2014). Delegation dates were October 18 through 20, 2014. Members of the delegation included Mayor Shozo Katayama, City Councilmember Asada Yasuko, former Mayor Juichi Kishi, city staff, Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Nishiwaki International Goodwill Exchange Association, Nishiwaki Lions Club, business representatives, and community members.

Renton-based activities during the three-day itinerary included visits to Gene Coulon Memorial Beach Park, Nishiwaki Lane, and the Jimi Hendrix Memorial; lunch hosted by Ted and Veronica Rodriguez at Torero’s at The Landing; and an evening social and dinner party hosted by the Dochnahl family. The delegation also toured the Renton Boeing Plant Renton History Museum and Meadow Crest Early Learning Center and Inclusive Playground, plus enjoyed a catered dinner hosted by committee volunteers. Seattle area highlights included the Space Needle, Pike Place Market, Starbucks, and an Argosy Cruise excursion to Tillicum Village for a salmon bake and traditional Native American performance of dance and story-telling.

The Official Ceremony & Dinner, recognizing the anniversary of the 45-year sister city exchange program, was held at Renton City Hall. Attendees included City of Renton elected officials, the Nishiwaki delegation, representatives from the Hyogo Business and Cultural Center, Consulate-General of Japan (Seattle Office), Renton Lions Club, and dozens of Renton community members. During the city-to-city gift exchange, Mayor Denis Law presented Mayor Shozo Katayama with a model of the new Boeing 737-800 MAX with an engraved plaque recognizing the 45-year sister-city relationship. On behalf of the City of Nishiwaki, Japan, Mayor Shozo Katayama presented a beautiful grey and white concrete carved Buddha statue to Mayor Law and the City of Renton. The Buddha statue represented the message which means “always try to smile through hard work.”

Twelve members of the delegation stayed at the Renton Red Lion Hotel; the remaining eight delegates were hosted by members of the Renton community. Delegates paid for their own travel and hotel expenses. Through donations and previous fundraisers, the Renton-Nishiwaki Committee raised supporting funds to help cover delegate expenses for various activities and excursions.

In 1969, the official Sister City partnership began with initiative from Renton Lions Club and other area nonprofits, with support from the governments of the two cities. The strength and vitality of a long-term association rests in the hands of citizen volunteers and community participants. Today, the Renton Sister Cities Association is a nonprofit organization working in partnership with the City of Renton to enhance citizen understanding and appreciation for other cultures and promote international goodwill through people-to-people relationships. Programming provides opportunities to engage Renton residents, organizations, groups, government, and businesses. Renton's Sister Cities are Nishiwaki, Japan (established 1969), and Cuautla, Mexico (established 2001ister City relationships enable citizens of both communities to gain mutual awareness and appreciation of the different cultures, and allow citizens to participate in educational, cultural, and professional exchanges.

For more information about the Renton-Nishiwaki Sister City program, contact Roger Richert, Chairman, at 206-232-1700.