City ready to welcome Japanese delegation

Invercargill will welcome a delegation from Japanese sister city Kumagaya this week, in a visit set to commemorate 30 years of the sister city relationship.

The Invercargill-Kumagaya sister city relationship was formalised in 1993 and has since sparked student exchanges, reciprocal official visits and the formation of the Kumagaya Friendship Association. Kumagaya, about 60km from central Tokyo, is an agricultural town with a love of rugby.

Members of the 12-strong party visiting the city include the Mayor of Kumagaya, Tetsuya Kobayashi, Kumagaya City Council chair Katsumi Fukuya, city councillors and the president of the Kumagaya International Friendship Association, Kuniyoshi Matsumoto.

Invercargill Mayor Nobby Clark said the visit was an excellent way to start the year by re-establishing ties, making new friends and getting the opportunity to showcase the city.

“We’ve made a lot of changes in Invercargill in 30 years and we’re keen to have them see what we’ve been up to since their last visit.”

Mayor Clark was looking forward to showing the visitors the City Streets development and Invercargill Central mall.

“I’m also keen to talk with them about the plans we have for Project 1225 and hopefully they will be back in the next few years to see its completion.”

As part of their visit delegates would take part in a signing ceremony at Council, tour Queens Park, Rugby Park, Tiwai and Stadium Southland as well as being hosted at a formal dinner at Te Rau Aroha marae in Bluff.