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            Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann departs Monday on a nine-day trip to Okinawa and Korea. In both places, Hannemann will inspect rail transit systems and meet with government and business leaders to promote Honolulu tourism and economic development.

            “These are ancestral homelands for sizeable segments of Honolulu’s populace,” said Mayor Hannemann. “On this trip we hope to not only strengthen cultural bonds but also invite and seek greater economic interaction between Honolulu and both Okinawa and Korea.

            “In addition, Okinawa and Korea have modern rail transit systems that can provide valuable lessons to us as we move forward on a mass transit system for Oahu,” Hannemann said.

            Hannemann was invited to Okinawa by Governor Keiichi Inamine. He will head a group of more than 1,100 members of the Hawaii United Okinawa Association who are attending the 4th Worldwide Uchinanchu Festival, a gathering of Uchinanchu (people of Okinawan descent) from around the globe that is held every five years. About 4,500 people from outside Okinawa are attending the festival. The mayor will lead the Hawaii delegation in the festival’s opening parade and a series of festival events throughout the week.

            Hannemann will also meet with Governor Inamine, Naha Mayor Takeshi Onaga and other officials. Naha and Honolulu, which share common cultural and economic interests, have had a sister-city relationship since 1960.

            Hannemann will also visit the Okinawa Peace Memorial Park and present a floral offering for more than 200,000 people who died in the World War II Battle of Okinawa in the spring of 1945.

             Accompanying the mayor on Okinawa will be HUOA President Laverne Higa, who is the director of the City Department of Facility Maintenance; City Transportation Services Director Melvin Kaku and Isaac Hokama, special assistant to the mayor.

            In Korea, Mayor Hannemann will visit the cities of Seoul, Pusan and Incheon. His retinue will include City Councilwoman Ann Kobayashi and Gordon Bruce, director of the Department of Information Technology. Leaders of Honolulu’s Korean community will also accompany the mayor, including restaurateur Peter Kim, president of the Korean American Foundation Hawaii; Christine Camp-Friedman, president and CEO of Avalon Development Co. and past chairwoman of the Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii; and Taeyong Kim, president of Environmental Communications, Inc., and past president of the Korean American Coalition of Hawaii.

            Hannemann is going to Korea at the invitation of Incheon Mayor Ahn Sang-Soo. The trip is being underwritten by POSCO Engineering and Construction and Younglim Engineering and Construction.

            Hannemann will meet with Mayor Ahn and  Seoul Mayor Oh Se-Hoon and former Mayor Lee Myung-Bak. Honolulu has had a sister-city relationship with Seoul since 1973 and with Incheon since 2003.

             Hannemann will visit the Pusan light rail transit system and meet with officials of POSEC and Younglim; Biosensor, a “smart card” technology firm; and Korea Rail. He will be the featured speaker at a gala dinner hosted by the Korea-U.S. Economic Council and will hold a news conference with Korean travel industry media. He is also scheduled to visit the Pusan International Film Festival. Hannemann will also host a reception in Seoul for Korean dignitaries.

            He is scheduled to return to Honolulu on October 18. In his absence Managing Director Wayne Hashiro will be acting mayor.



Media contacts:

            Bill Brennan, 527-2968

            Mark Matsunaga, 527-5767

Friday, October 06, 2006

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