Miyajima Itsukushima Shrine, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is one of the main attractions of Hatsukaichi City. Its mayor will visit Saanich later this month as part of efforts to formalize a sister city relationship. Google image

Saanich embraces sister-city relationship with Hiroshima suburb

Mayor Katsuhiro Shinno of Hatsukaichi City will visit Saanich April 23 to 25

Saanich is about to make history by exploring a sister city relationship with a suburb of Hiroshima.

Mayor Katsuhiro Shinno of Hatsukaichi City will visit Saanich April 23 to 25 to tour and learn more about the municipality.

“This is a big event,” said Mayor Richard Atwell, when asked about the upcoming visit. “This is very serious.”

Saanich currently lacks a friendship or sister city relationship with any community and the two sides would still need to develop a formal sister city protocol following Mayor Shinno’s visit, said Atwell, who notes that this is just a first meeting, with no firm commitment yet.

But if details remain to be sorted, Saanich should embrace the relationship because of its would-be benefits.

“With its diverse cultural base, not to mention the UVic and Camosun student populations at our three campuses of higher learning, the potential for tourism, trade and knowledge exchange between Saanich and Hatsukaichi has great potential and should be explored with open arms,” he said.

Thanks to its beaches and local attractions, including the Miyajima Itsukushima Shrine, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Hatsukaichi City is a popular tourist destination for Japanese and foreign visitors. As a seaside community with a population of just 118,000, whose city limits “stretch from the coast, far inland into the [mountains], and largely rural hinterland,” it also offers striking similarities to Saanich (pop:114,000).

Part of a larger metropolitan area, an official brochure describes Hatsukaichi City as a “bed town” for the area. It is also home to several shopping centres, including a large mall called You Me Town Hatsukaichi.

These similarities, however, threaten to obscure the deeper ties between the community around the issue of nuclear disarmament.

The centre of Hiroshima — which an American nuclear bomb struck on Aug. 6, 1945 during the waning days of the Second World War — is less than half an hour away from Hatsukaichi City, and a local non-governmental organization organizes educational sessions around the subject, inclusive visit to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, where the ruins of the Hiroshima Prefectural Industrial Promotion Hall stand as they did on the day of the attack.

Last September, Rudi Hoenson, a survivor of the U.S. nuclear attack on the Japanese city of Nagasaki on Aug. 9, 1945, planted a ceremonial peace tree near Saanich’s Municipal Hall. The eight-inch tall Ginkgo biloba seedling grew from a seed, which had survived the explosion in Hiroshima.

Saanich, for its part, has also been actively promoting statements against the proliferation and use of nuclear arms.

Just Posted

Three suspicious fires in Saanich under investigation

Saanich Fire are currently investigating three suspicious spot-fires in Saanich’s Panama Flats… Continue reading

Heat warning issued for Vancouver Island

Temperatures expected to cool down later this week

Saanich seals history with time capsule

Saanich will re-open time capsule in 2067

Short trip to car-free Sidney Spit offers camping, beaches, hikes

Sidney Spit is part of B.C.’s Gulf Islands National Park Reserve, a protected marine ecosystem

Women’s March Victoria keeps movement going with UVic symposium

Discussions, community building and fundraising event highlights women of colour, LGBTQ, immigrants

VIDEO: Visual recap of Vancouver Island MusicFest

Walk Off The Earth, Passenger, Arlo Guthrie among highlights

Trudeau’s youth council divided over Trans Mountain pipeline purchase

A letter signed by 16 past and present members was made public today, asking the federal government to reverse course

Hulk Hogan reinstated into wrestling Hall of Fame

Hogan had used racial slurs caught on video when talking about his daughter sleeping with a black man

Proposed charges will cost Saanich housing affordability

The head of the association representing home builders in the Greater Victoria… Continue reading

Island wide crime spree leads to multiple charges against Cowichan Valley resident

Social Media and citizens of the North Island played a big role in solving the case.

‘Lava bomb’ through roof of tour boat injures 22 in Hawaii

“An explosion occurred near the shoreline hurling hot lava rocks towards the boat and injuring several passengers”

B.C. teen meets Nicolas Cage

Filming mob movie in downtown Vernon, B.C.

Critics claim Trump “defended a tyrant”

Trump questions US intel, not Putin, on Russia 2016 meddling

Most Read