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Hawai‘i extends bond with Yamaguchi

HONOLULU — A two-year process to formally establish a sister-legislative relationship between Hawai‘i and the Yamaguchi Prefectural Assembly of Japan was completed in a formal ceremony that included Senate President Ronald D. Kouchi and state House Majority Leader Daynette “Dee” Morikawa of Kaua‘i.

Kouchi, who represents District 8 – Kaua‘i and Ni‘ihau, and House Speaker Scott K. Saiki, who represents District 25 – Ala Moana, Kaka‘ako and Downtown Honolulu, led a signing ceremony on Thursday, Jan. 19.

Kouchi was enthused about the agreement.

“As we emerge post-pandemic, I am excited for the opportunities that lay ahead for further collaborations and interactions with our colleagues from the Yamaguchi Prefectural Assembly,” said Kouchi in a statement.

“Both Hawai‘i and Yamaguchi have much to offer, and it is my hope that we can work together as a collective to better the lives of the people that we serve.”

According to the agreement, the focus of the sister-legislative relationship is to develop people-to-people exchanges in the fields of business and education and culture, with periodic face-to-face visits to each other’s legislative chambers and offices.

The agreement also reflects the long history shared between Hawai‘i and Yamaguchi, including the immigration of more than 10,000 contract laborers to Hawai‘i between 1885 and 1894 as government-sponsored immigrants, according to the state Legislature. Since that time, there have been continuous cultural exchanges between the people of Hawai‘i and Yamaguchi.

A renewal of the connection between Hawai‘i and Yamaguchi was spearheaded by former state Sen. Brian Taniguchi, who served in elected office for 42 years and had represented Senate District 11 (Manoa, Makiki, Punchbowl and Papakolea, O‘ahu). He introduced Senate Concurrent Resolution 241 in 2021, which called for the establishment of a sister-state relationship.


Wyatt Haupt Jr., editor, can be reached at 808-245-0457 or
Source: The Garden Island

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