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(Thurs., Nov. 6, 2009) Hiroshima, Japan—Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann was named a Hiroshima City Special Honorary Citizen at the annual Honolulu Day Celebration, which more than 100 delegates from Hawaii attended. Honolulu and Hiroshima have been sister-cities for 50 years, and enjoy strong ethnic, cultural and family ties.


            Hiroshima Mayor Tadatoshi Akiba honored Hannemann for his efforts to strengthen the bonds of friendship, culture and economic ties between the two cities. The first immigrants from Hiroshima arrived in Hawaii in 1885 and made many meaningful contributions to their new home.


            “I’m truly honored to be embraced by the people of Hiroshima, who have a real love of Honolulu,” Hannemann said after receiving the Honorary Citizen award from Mayor Akiba. “This is Honolulu’s oldest sister-city relationship, and we definitely look forward to enhancing this historic partnership in the years to come.”


            Joining Hannemann in Hiroshima were his wife, Gail Mukaihata Hannemann; City Council Chairman Todd Apo; Councilman Gary Okino; 50th Anniversary Honolulu-Hiroshima Sister-City Committee Chairman Wayne Miyao; Honolulu Japanese Chamber of Commerce Chairman Sidney Hamada and many Chamber members; members of the Kenjin-Kai group of Hawaii residents with family ties to Hiroshima; and many others from Hawaii.


Hannemann noted that the Honolulu Day Celebration included a performance by students from Honolulu’s Hokulani Elementary School, which has a sister-school relationship with Ushita-shinmachi Elementary in Hiroshima. Among the Honolulu residents who enjoyed the celebration and trace their roots to Hiroshima were Edith Kawakami, mother of musical group “Manoa DNA” founder Lloyd Kawakami, who also participated with his two sons, Nick and Alex.


            Also, in a major presentation to the Hiroshima Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Hannemann briefed the Chamber members and business officials on the state of Honolulu’s economy and the opportunities for the two cities to engage in various and mutually beneficial initiatives. The Hiroshima Chamber and the Honolulu Chamber also have a sister-chamber relationship.


Hannemann emphasized the importance of Japanese travel to Hawaii and the efforts he and others are making to strengthen this important facet of our visitor market, such as the recent trip he made to Japan to participate in Marriott International’s “Spirit of Aloha” tour. He also described his role as chairman of the U.S. Conference of Mayors’ Tourism, Arts, Parks, Entertainment and Sports committee, and the work he and fellow American mayors are doing to bolster international tourism to the U.S.


Hannemann highlighted improvements that have been made in Waikiki and Ko Olina, and described the growth in the Kapolei area and the progress of Honolulu’s rail transit project. He emphasized that Honolulu is considered one of America’s safest cities, and described the City’s ongoing efforts to ensure the safety and security of visitors and residents alike.


            While in Hiroshima, Hannemann has conducted various television interviews and participated in media events that are drawing attention to Honolulu. He and his wife Gail also made a special visit to the Peace Memorial Museum, where Hannemann and Apo laid wreaths at the memorial monument on behalf of the people of Honolulu.


            In July, Hannemann welcomed Mayor Akiba and a delegation from Hiroshima to Honolulu Hale for a commemorative signing ceremony to reaffirm the sister-city relationship.


            Hannemann will arrive in Manila, Philippines on Saturday to lead a Trade Mission sponsored by the Filipino Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii and to participate in business development workshops sponsored by the Honolulu Mayor’s Office of Economic Development.


            Also participating in the Trade Mission will be City Councilman Nestor Garcia, state Rep. Joey Manahan and several members of Hannemann’s Senior Staff and Cabinet who are of Filipino heritage.


            Hannemann will visit an emergency shelter in Manila on Nov. 8 to help distribute relief supplies to victims of recent flooding, and will travel to several other cities and towns to meet with local officials, foster economic development, and bolster sister-city ties. He will return to Honolulu on Nov. 12.




Media contact: Bill Brennan, Mayor’s Office, 768-6928