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Governors Granholm and Kada Highlight 42-Year Partnership

Published: Monday, 13 Sep 2010
Author: Katie Walquist
Department: Japan Center for Michigan Universities

LANSING - Governor Jennifer M. Granholm today met with Governor Yukiko Kada of Shiga Prefecture, Japan, to discuss the importance of economic development, share mutual efforts to promote more investment and job creation both in Michigan and Shiga, and to discuss the issues of environmental protection and invasive species for the Michigan Great Lakes and Lake Biwa. The meeting took place during the 42nd Annual Midwest U.S.-Japan Association Conference in Detroit Michigan. The last time Michigan hosted this prestigious event was in 1993 in Grand Rapids. Governor Kada traveled from Japan to participate in this conference as did the governor from Saitama Prefecture in Japan. In 1968, Governor George Romney of Michigan and Governor Kinichiro Nozaki of Shiga Prefecture, Japan, signed the agreement to establish a sister state relationship between their two states. This Michigan-Shiga partnership is the oldest and most comprehensive sister state relationship between the United States and Japan. Residents of Michigan and Shiga continue to maintain close ties through partnership activities between sister cities and exchanges involving students, teachers, community members and government officials. "For the past 42 years, our two states have used this partnership to develop economic, education, and cultural relationships as well as to protect our valuable natural resources," Granholm said. "It is celebrated through programs such as the Japan Center for Michigan Universities (JCMU), which for over 20 years has provided unique international education to over 2,200 American students and 2,500 Japanese students from diverse disciplines and majors. We are also pleased to participate in such things as the annual Enviro Shiga, an environmental business exhibition in Nagahama, Japan, in addition to visits by me or Michigan Economic Development Corporation staff several times a year."

"While I studied in the American Midwest, this is my first visit to the state of Michigan," Governor Kada said. "I had the opportunity to visit beautiful Mackinac Island before participating in the Midwest U.S.-Japan Association Conference. It was a surprise to see an island without automobiles in a state which has long thrived on the automotive industry. It is also extremely interesting to note Michigan's success in attracting alternative energy businesses - through which Michigan is establishing leadership of and has become a center for the United State's alternative energy industry. Michigan's economy is truly on the brink of change. There are many similarities between the industries of Michigan and Shiga, particularly with regard to the growth of our environmental and alternative energy industries. I hope to utilize the networks cultivated thus far through our relationship, such as the JCMU Alumni Association, to further promote mutually beneficial cultural and economic exchange."

Source: http://www.michigan.gov/gov/0,1607,7-168-23442-243503--,00.html