WARM WELCOME - Rikubetsu Mayor Hidetaka Nojiri speaks to attendees and officials in Lacombe last weekend during a special ceremony held for the Rikubetsu delegation who is visiting from Japan.

WARM WELCOME - Rikubetsu Mayor Hidetaka Nojiri speaks to attendees and officials in Lacombe last weekend during a special ceremony held for the Rikubetsu delegation who is visiting from Japan.

City sign addition unveiled as Rikubetsu delegation arrives

Lacombe marks 30th anniversary of twinning with Rikubetsu, Japan

  • Sep. 22, 2016 3:00 p.m.

BY RYAN WELLICOME

Lacombe Express

A ceremony was held to mark the new addition to the City’s entrance signs in celebration of the 30th anniversary of Lacombe’s twinning with Rikubetsu, Japan.

In addition to the annual student-chaperone delegation, a special delegation from Rikubetsu that included Rikubetsu Mayor Hidetaka Nojiri and a group of the town’s citizens arrived in Lacombe for the festivities.

“I am so glad to see the hospitality of people here. I really appreciate it,” said Nojiri. “Although Lacombe is very far from Rikubetsu, many people in both Lacombe and Rikubetsu have built and fostered a strong friendship.”

The ceremony included speeches from officials and a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the signage addition that reads ‘Proud sister-city of Rikubetsu, Japan since 1986’.

Lacombe Mayor Steve Christie greeted the delegation and he stressed the importance of the two communities’ cultural exchange.

“For us to learn how they do things there and them to learn how we do things here is very very important to not only the chaperones, the adults and the mayors but to the children who will be coming up into our communities,” he said.

Additionally, he expressed its importance on a broader scale.

“We (Canada) are always working out trade agreements with different countries and it is, I think, advantageous to know the culture,” he said.

The delegation was also greeted by provincial and federal dignitaries such as Lacombe-Ponoka MLA Ron Orr, Conservative MP for Red Deer-Lacombe Blaine Calkins and Consul-General of Japan in Calgary Kunihiko Tanabe.

“It is fantastic when we have an opportunity to pause and reflect on the nature of our relationship,” said Calkins.

Born and raised in Lacombe, Calkins remembered when the two communities first signed the twinning agreement.

“It was 30 years ago when I was graduating from high school and some of the people that are in attendance here were my teachers so it is kind of interesting to think about how long that relationship has been around but it is an important one.”

Since the twinning of the two communities in 1986, a delegation of students and chaperones has visited Lacombe every year with the exception of two. The delegation’s yearly five day visit is planned and organized by the Lacombe and District Rikubetsu Friendship Society.

“The Lacombe and District Rikubetsu Friendship Society volunteers have worked tirelessly over the past three decades to strengthen relationships between our two cities and help promote friendship, goodwill and mutual understanding between our two cultures,” said Christie.

A number of communities in Alberta have twinning agreements with communities in Japan. Communities such as Barrhead, Canmore, Jasper, Lethbridge and eight others all have agreements with Japanese communities.

Tanabe said the numerous partnerships of communities in Alberta and areas of Japan helps to strengthen ties between the two countries.

“I strongly believe it is grassroots interaction that truly connects people who belong to different cultures,” said Tanabe. “It is my hope that Lacombe and Rikubetsu will continue to have a healthy and mutually beneficial relationship where people in both cities can learn from and be encouraged by each other.”

Nojiri shared the same sentiment.

“I believe the friendship between Lacombe and Rikubetsu will make a great deal of difference for the relationship between Canada and Japan; I also hope that it will make a good contribution towards world peace,” he said.

news@lacombeexpress.com

 

Just Posted

Alberta is now below 3,000 active cases of COVID-19, as the province reported 2,639 Wednesday. (NIAID-RML via AP)
Red Deer below 100 active COVID-19 cases for first time since March

69.7 per cent of Albertans 12 and over have at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine

Premier Jason Kenney says the provincial government is doing everything it can to encourage Albertans to get vaccinated. (Photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Travel prizes added to Alberta’s vaccine lottery

More than 40 travel rewards available for those who are fully vaccinated

Three calves were recently shot dead in Lacombe County near Mirror. (Photo from Facebook)
Calves shot and left for dead in central Alberta

Bashaw RCMP investigating three shootings

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

The Calgary skyline is seen on Friday, Sept. 15, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
2 deaths from COVID-19 Delta variant in Alberta, 1 patient was fully immunized

Kerry Williamson with Alberta Health Services says the patients likely acquired the virus in the hospital

A vial containing the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine is shown at a vaccination site in Marcq en Baroeul, outside Lille, northern France, Saturday, March 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Michel Spingler
mRNA vaccines ‘preferred’ for all Canadians, including as 2nd dose after AstraZeneca: NACI

New recommendations prioritizes Pfizer, Moderna in almost all cases

House Majority Whip James Clyburn, D-S.C., center left, reaches over to Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., joined by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., center, and members of the Congressional Black Caucus as they celebrate the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act that creates a new federal holiday to commemorate June 19, 1865, when Union soldiers brought the news of freedom to enslaved Black people after the Civil War, at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, June 17, 2021. It’s the first new federal holiday since Martin Luther King Jr. Day was created in 1983. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Biden to sign bill making Juneteenth a federal holiday

New American stat marks the nation’s end of slavery

A screenshot of the First Peoples Cultural Councils First Peoples’ Map. (First Peoples Cultural Council)
Online resource blends B.C.-Alberta’s Indigenous languages, art and culture

Advisor says initiative supports the urgent need to preserve Indigenous languages

A plane is silhouetted as it takes off from Vancouver International Airport in Richmond, B.C., May 13, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Report calls for airlines to refund passengers for flights halted due to COVID-19

Conclusion: federal help should be on the condition airlines immediately refund Canadian travellers

Green party Leader Annamie Paul speaks during a news conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, June 15, 2021. Paul has survived another day of party strife after a planned ouster shifted course, leaving her with a tenuous grip on power ahead of a likely federal election this year. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Green Leader Annamie Paul blasts ‘racist,’ ‘sexist’ party execs who sought ouster

Fallout has continued, with two of the federal council’s members resigning

Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, and U.S President Joe Biden shake hands during their meeting at the ‘Villa la Grange’ in Geneva, Switzerland in Geneva, Switzerland, Wednesday, June 16, 2021. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, Pool)
Biden says meeting with Putin not a ‘kumbaya moment’

But U.S. president asserted Russian leader is interested in improved relations, averting a Cold War

Most Read