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An Introduction to the Sister City Program

Judy Archer, an Ottawa elementary?school art teacher in Clinton Township Michigan decided that the Chippewa Valley School District should try to set up some sort of sister school program with a school in Japan. She approached the State government, currently involved in Sister State relations with Shiga Prefecture Japan. At about the same time Yasu-cho, in Shiga Prefecture, had been looking for a Sister City and approached the Prefectural government.

In 1991, Judy, her son, and Connie Sier, another elementary school teacher, joined the summer Michigan State Exchange Group to Japan and were hosted in Yasu. Judy took a strong liking to Yasu and approached the Yasu town officials, through Howard Rose, the CIR at the time, about establishing a sister school program. Unlike the States, the Japanese school system is directly controlled by the local government. Therefore, Yasu wanted to not only form a sister school relation but a sister city relationship.

An official group led by the Yasu Deputy Mayor and other officials visited Clinton Township in February of 1993 to discuss final arrangements for becoming "Sister Cities". In August of the same year a group from Clinton Township, headed by Supervisor Mark Kohl arrived in Yasu where the Sister City Agreement was signed and formalized. Since that time an exchange group visits Yasu or Clinton Township every year.

In 1998, in honor of the Fifth Anniversary of the Sister City Program, Yasu dispatched Japanese gardeners who, working side by side with Clinton Township workers, completed a Japanese Garden for the people of Clinton Township.

The year 2000 saw the start of the Junior High School Student Exchange. In the fall, 8 students visited Chippewa Valley School District for 10 days. The following spring students visited and attended classes in Yasu.

In 2003, Clinton Township presented Yasu with a sculpture in honor of the 10th Anniversary of the Sister City Program.

we would be happy to have you join in. If you would like to participate in either hosting a visitor, or gong on a home stay trip, please let us know. Our contact is below.

Click here to E-mail Us! (yifa@gaia.eonet.ne.jp)
TEL:(int +81) 077-586-3106 / FAX:077-586-3139