The Saipan Mayor’s Office is looking at boosting Japanese tourism in the Commonwealth through the creation of sisterhood city agreements.
During the Katori Shrine group’s annual visit to Saipan, it was discussed that a sisterhood agreement between Chiba’s Katori City and Saipan should be established, according to Mayor David M. Apatang.
The Katori Shrine group was behind the construction of the Katori Shrine at the Sugar King Park over 30 years ago to honor the Japanese settlement and the history between Japan and Saipan. The group also brought Japan’s famous Autumn Festival to the Commonwealth.
According to Apatang, he feels strongly about the sisterhood city agreements between Katori City and Saipan and is completely on board with the idea.
“It is always good to establish relationships like this with cities in Japan so we can try and get our Japanese market back on the island,” he said.
Apatang said that Kator City will not be the only Japanese city and Chiba will not be the only prefecture that the Saipan municipality will establish sisterhood accords with.
“I think it is a good idea and we are also working on other sisterhood relationships with Japan,” he said.
Apatang is currently in the process of establishing a sisterhood with a city in the Tokyo prefecture to further strengthen the bond between Japan and the Commonwealth.
He is also working on creating sister-relationships with China.
Aside from the sisterhood proposal, the Katori Shrine also announced that this year’s Autumn Festival would be held on Oct. 27 at the Sugar King Park.
The group flew in early this week to inspect the Katori Shrine for any repairs that should be made before the festival and before the Katori Shrine ceremony. Apatang assured the group that he and his team have been maintaining the park to the best of their abilities.
According to Katori Shrine priest Shinto Katori, even if there are hindrances like the Delta Air Lines flight pullout, Katori Shrine devotees will not let it get in the way of the annual celebration.
The Autumn Festival is celebrated annually to highlight the traditional aspects of the Japanese culture and also the anniversary of the Katori Shrine at Sugar King Park.