A delegation from the City of Rockingham is in Japan this week for a series of meetings that will strengthen the long standing sister-city relationship between the cities of Ako and Rockingham.

The cities of Rockingham and Ako have been engaged in a mutually beneficial sister-city relationship since April 1997. For more than 20 years representatives from both cities have visited each other, with a small delegation from Rockingham travelling to Ako in Hyogo Prefecture earlier this week.

During this week’s visit the delegation from Rockingham has met with Ako City officials to explore possibilities for wide ranging improvements for both communities.

Topics of discussion have included employment, economic development, tourism, aged care, disability services, rubbish disposal and recycling, as well as responding to climate change and the future of the Ako – Rockingham exchange.

The delegation also had the privilege of meeting with His Excellency Governor Toshizo Ido, Governor of Hyogo Prefecture. During this meeting Mayor Barry Sammels presented Governor Ido with a letter from Premier Mark McGowan.

In his letter to Governor Ido, Premier McGowan said he hoped the visit would provide positive improvements and outcomes for both communities. He also indicated his desire to see the relationship between Ako and Rockingham continue to thrive, along with other sister-city relationships involving cities in Hyogo Prefecture.

Mayor Barry Sammels said the visit to Ako was playing a vital role in strengthening the sister-city relationship.

“The meetings we have had with Governor Ido and many Ako City officials have given the delegation useful insights, ideas and knowledge that we can apply at home,” Mayor Sammels said.

“While both cities have vastly different histories, we both share the need to develop in areas like tourism, employment and economic development. Issues surrounding climate change, aged care and disability services are all universal, so by working together we can we can make lasting improvements to both of our communities.”

Upon their return, each member of the delegation will provide a written report to Council via the Global Friendship Committee. The reports will highlight the outcomes of the visit.



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