Two hundred thirty residents of Matsumoto, Japan, traveled to Salt Lake City last week with the intent of strengthening the sister-city ties between the two cities.
Yoshio Takahashi, assistant director for the Public Information and International Liaison Division of Matsumoto, fears that people in Salt Lake City do not think "sister city" when they think of Matsumoto. Speaking through an interpreter, he said, "I'm afraid for the people of Matsumoto city. When citizens of Matsumoto hear Salt Lake City, in their minds they say `sister city.' Here in Salt Lake I'm not sure if people associate Matsumoto as being Salt Lake's sister city."The two cities joined as sister cities in 1958, 33 years ago.
According to papers released by Matsumoto officials, its sister-city relationship with Salt Lake City is the 13th oldest of Matsumoto's 200 sister city tie-ups. It is also the most active relationship Matsumoto has with any of its sister cities and has received many awards from the American Sister City Association.
More than 1,000 members of different organizations, citizens and students from both cities have visited each other during the past 33 years.
Takahashi said that during the past week he "feels people have gained an understanding by bringing the America-Japan festivities to them."