Japanese runners compete in Perth marathon event
Exchange program celebrates 35-year WA-Hyogo Sister State relationship
Two runners from Japan will compete in this Sunday's Perth Marathon and Relay in celebration of the Sister State relationship between Western Australia and the Hyogo Prefecture.
State Development Minister Bill Marmion said the State Government strongly supported the annual marathon exchange program. The program began in 2011, as part of celebrations for the 30th anniversary of the Sister State relationship.
"I'm delighted to welcome runners Masahiro Fujita and Mei Matsuyama to WA to take part in the Perth Marathon in the 35th year of our Sister State relationship," Mr Marmion said.
"WA deeply values its relationship with the Hyogo Prefecture, and with Japan more broadly.
"Every second year, we send Western Australian runners to take part in the Kobe Marathon in Japan. This year, it is the Hyogo Prefecture's turn to send runners to WA."
Mr Fujita and Ms Matsuyama were selected to take part in this year's exchange based on their strong performance in last year's Kobe Marathon.
"Japan was an essential early investor in the State's resources sector, and two-way trade between WA and Japan was valued at $19 billion in 2015," the Minister said.
"Our cultural ties are also strong, with about 3,500 Japanese-born people living in this State at the time of the 2011 Census."
Another program conducted each year as part of the Sister State relationship is the Banshu Fashion Textile Program, where promising young Western Australian designers travel to Hyogo to learn traditional Japanese methods of textile-making.
- Renae Lloyd and Christopher O'Neill represented WA at the 2015 Kobe Marathon
WA and Hyogo Prefecture have been Sister States since 1981
In 2011, Premier Colin Barnett visited Hyogo and gave four koalas to the prefecture on behalf of WA