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Friend and Sister Cities in the Clear

Date Published: 21/03/2011

The City of Rockingham’s overseas delegation returned to Australia last Tuesday night, after narrowly avoiding the earthquake that hit Japan on Friday 11 March.

Upon his safe return, City of Rockingham Mayor, Barry Sammels said he was shocked and saddened at the devastation to hit Japan over the past couple of days: “The City sends its concern and condolences to the Japanese people at this time of severe trauma.
“We have been in contact with our hosts in Sister City Ako and friends in Tokyo and we are all relieved to report minimal impacts in Ako.
“The City’s three delegates were extremely fortunate to have been booked on a flight that departed Japan for Malaysia, three hours before the earthquake and resulting Tsunami, which effectively shut down parts of the country.
“Our visit to Sister City Ako was very successful with the City strengthening our longstanding ties and looking at new ways to share cultural and educational exchanges between our two remarkable Cities.”
“There were many highlights to our trip and we were honoured to learn more about Ako’s rich history and thriving industry.”
“We met with Ako Mayor, Masaaki Mameda to discuss a planned Japanese delegation to the City of Rockingham next year, in celebration of our successful 15 year Sister City relationship with Ako.”
“City representatives were taken on a guided tour of the Tokyo Disaster and Emergency Response Control Centre and we were briefed on all aspects of disaster and emergency management.
“It was very saddening that although the centre had not been used for ten years, it would have been fully activated the very next day when the devastating earthquake and resulting tsunami struck the coast of Japan on 11 March.”
The City’s three delegates, including CEO, Andrew Hammond and Cr Deb Hamblin paid a brief visit to Friendship City, Kota Kinabalu before returning to Australia.
Mayor Sammels described the visit as very promising for potential opportunities for economic development in the region: “The Rockingham delegation discussed hotel concepts with Datuk Chan, Managing Director of Sagajuta Property Development Corporation.
“At a special Investment Seminar for Government, development and investment stakeholders, we spoke with Sabah Mayor Abidin Madingkir, about the possibility of world class learning facility Murdoch University, establishing a branch in Kota Kinabalu.”

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