Sen. Hobbs set for “friendship mission” to Japan

August 25th, 2015|

Sen. Steve Hobbs, D-Lake Stevens, is one of several lawmakers headed to Japan this week to meet and strengthen ties with officials from the Hyogo Prefecture, Washington’s sister state on the island nation.

Hobbs described the trip as a “friendship mission meant to strengthen the already strong bond between Washington and Hyogo,” which two years ago celebrated the 50th anniversary of the sister state-prefecture relationship, the longest such connection of its kind in the country.

“It’s no secret that Washington is a state that relies heavily on its trade partners and our relationship with Japan is one of the most positive and mutually beneficial that we have,” Hobbs said. “This mission is a great opportunity to continue to build on the already strong foundation that we have with our friends in Hyogo. My hope is that by renewing our relationship with Hyogo will open doors for Washington goods in other parts of the world as well.”

The trip, which is being paid for entirely by the members of the delegation, will begin on Aug. 27. Members of the delegation are also scheduled to participate in a governmental exchange program to better learn how Japanese government operates. They also plan to visit Kato, the sister city of Olympia and visit the Kobe Earthquake Museum to learn how Japan has worked to better prepare itself and recover from devastating earthquakes.

“There’s definitely some common interest there,” Hobbs said. “We take very seriously the risk posed to all Washingtonians by a large earthquake and we are constantly looking for ways to both warn people about and keep them safe during a quake.”

The Washington-Hyogo Friendship Council was established by resolution in 1994.