To celebrate the 30th anniversary of the agreement of friendship city between Zhongshan and Moriguchi, Moriguchi's Mayor Katsuki Nishibata led a delegation to Zhongshan from December 3rd to December 5th.
During the trip, Mr. Nishibata not only attended the opening ceremony of the "30-year friendship between Zhongshan and Moriguchi" photo exhibition, but also visited Japanese companies during the trip.
Katsuki Nishibata, Mayor of Moriguchi in conversation with Newsgd.com. (Photo: Song Hainan)
On December 4th, a photo exhibition on the 30-years of exchange between Zhongshan and Moriguchi was held in Zhongshan Culture & Art Center. A series of photos vividly tell stories of the cities’ friendship.
Mr. Nishibata visiting the exhibition. (Photo: Steven Yuen)
"From the photos, we can see the achievements of the Romeo cities' previous governments," Mr. Nishibata told Newsgd.com. "Due to the efforts they have made, the relationship between the two cities can be actively grown."
Thirty years ago, on January 7th 1988, the State Council approved Zhongshan to be elevated in administrative status from county-level to prefecture-level city. In the same year, the then Mayor of Zhongshan, Tang Bingquan led a delegation to visit Moriguchi and was warmly welcomed by the local residents. Zhongshan subsequently signed the first friendship city agreement with Moriguchi.
Over the past 30 years, Zhongshan and Moriguchi have carried out a wide range of programs in various areas, such as politics, economy and culture.
Representatives from Zhongshan and Moriguchi planting a flame tree representing the friendship between Zhongshan and Moriguchi. (Photo: Steven Yuen)
2018 marks the 40th anniversary of China’s reform and opening-up. As one of the pioneer cities of the reform and opening-up, Zhongshan has attracted a variety of foreign companies to the region, including more than 100 Japanese companies.
At present, Zhongshan is speeding up industry upgrade; moving from traditional manufacturing to emerging industries, as well as serving the construction of Guangdong-Hong Kong Macao Bay Area. For Moriguchi, it is a great chance to exchange related experience in industry transformation and upgrade and deepen related cooperation.
"Moriguchi has similar business and industry to Zhongshan," Mr. Nishibata indicated. "We hope that the two cities can provide related experience in industry transformation and upgrading with each other in the future."
Nishibata anticipates that more high-tech companies from Moriguchi can settle down in Zhongshan and Guangdong Province in the future and that they can lead to benefits for both two regions.
Furthermore, Mr. Nishibata played baseball with Zhongshan's youth athletes during the visit. In his opinion, the exchange of youth talent is one of the most important areas for Zhongshan and Moriguchi to focus on.
"The exchange of youth talent started with table tennis at the beginning," Mr. Nishibata said before adding. "At present, we arrange for Zhongshan's students to live with local citizens when they visit Moriguchi so that they can experience typical Japanese culture."
In 2004, 26 students from Zhongshan received a warm welcome from Moriguchi citizens. At the welcome party, both Chinese and Japanese students sang and danced together.
One year later, 15 students from Moriguchi visited Zhongshan in return. During the trip, they visited Sun Yat-sen's Former Residence in Cuiheng Village, and found out more about the friendship between Sun Yat-sen and his Japanese contacts. Table tennis events were organised by youth from Zhongshan who also formed teams with students from Moriguchi and Nagasaki, participating in table tennis tournaments together.
Moreover, 10 Japanese students stayed with local families in Zhongshan and experienced first hand the huge changes brought by the policy of reform and opening-up. It was also the first time that Zhongshan residents had received foreigners.
"Since the links between countries across the world are getting closer and closer, it is vital for youth talent to experience different culture. I believe that the experience will become a great treasure for them once they are in the adult world" said Mr. Nishibata.
"We should do our best to develop the positive relationship between Zhongshan and Moriguchi." Mr. Nishibata told Newsgd.com. "I hope that the relationship between the two cities can become a bridge for China and Japan."
Author: Steven Yuen, Bingying Liao, Hainan Song
Edtior: Simon Haywood, Olivia Ouyang