Since February 2005
Committee Chair: Keiko Scott
Fukuoka is the capital of the Fukuoka Prefecture, situated on the northern shore of the Japanese island of Kyushu.
Before the Middle Ages, Hakata, where merchants thrived, had been the focal point. During the Edo period, the samurai town of Fukuoka was formed under the control of the Kuroda clan. Thus, a city with two towns was born: Hakata, the merchant town, became a place of traditional arts and crafts, while Fukuoka, the castle town, became a place where samurai culture lived. In 1889, the two towns merged into a city named Fukuoka.
Today the city of Fukuoka is a combination of antiquity and modernity. It has preserved its two-thousand-year cultural history through local heritage sites, while simultaneously promoting modern development. Not only does Fukuoka possess an open and simple nature as well as colorful festivals, it is renowned for its arts and vibrant traditional culture. At the same time, it is active in absorbing new ideas and is sensitive to the current trends in music and fashion.
Fukuoka is also the economic center of the Kyushu region, with an economy largely focused on the service, logistics, IT and advance manufacturing sectors. Fukuoka city is also home to the most startups in the country due to its economic zone for new businesses Large companies headquartered in the city include Iwataya and Kyushu Electric Power.
About the Partnership
The sister city partnership was established in 1994 when former Japan Prime Minister Toshiki Kaifu learned the potential opportunities for collaboration between Atlanta and Fukuoka during a visit. Atlanta and Fukuoka are both capital cities, serve as transportation hubs for their region and have strong technology and manufacturing industries. On February 8, 2005, former Mayor Franklin and former Fukuoka Mayor Hirotaro Yamasaki signed the sister city agreement and formalized the relationship between the City of Atlanta and Fukuoka.
In late March every year, high school students from Fukuoka visit Atlanta, where the students enjoy the American school life and home stay. The committee makes arrangements for their stay in Atlanta, a welcome dinner, a courtesy visit to the Mayor, etc., while several Atlanta high school students visit Fukuoka in the summer. Additionally, four 11-year-old students are selected by the Japan-America Society of Georgia to participate in the fully-funded program, the Asian-Pacific Children’s
Convention in Fukuoka each July.
The Mayor’s Office of International Affairs, the Consulate General of Japan, and the Japanese community and business leaders in Atlanta joined the newly created Japan Committee of Sister Cities International (SCI) in the U.S.-Japan sister cities Bell Ringing Project, to commemorate the 75 years of peace since the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
The project was dreamed of by artist, community leader, and social activist Richard Fukuhara, who unfortunately passed away before his dream could manifest. At the time of his death, Richard was working on a vision of his to have bells around the world ring 75 times, 44 or 47 times (the duration of the bomb’s drop on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, respectively) to honor those lives lost. His spirit lives on in all of us who carry out this project now in his stead as we strive for peace and mutual understanding between people around the world.
Today, the cities of Atlanta and Fukuoka continue to maintain an active and productive relationship. In July 2015, City of Atlanta Chief of Staff Candace Byrd and International Affairs Director Claire Angelle led a delegation to Fukuoka to promote trade, tourism and economic development opportunities. More recently, delegates from Fukuoka visited Atlanta in September during JapanFest, the largest Japanese festival in the Southeast region that draws more than 20,000 participants each year.
The City of Atlanta Office commemorated the 10th anniversary of its sister city relationship with Fukuoka, Japan during a reception at the Coca-Cola Company on Tuesday, November 17. Mayor Kasim Reed and Coca-Cola Company Senior Vice President, John Hackett, welcomed Fukuoka Mayor Soichiro Takashima and more than 100 delegates to the City of Atlanta. The reception followed a seminar on doing business in Fukuoka, and featured speakers Jorge Fernandez of the Metro Atlanta Chamber, Scott McMurray of the Georgia Department of Economic Development, Consul General of Japan Kazuo Sunaga and representatives from JETRO Fukuoka, the Fukuoka Chamber of Commerce, and Fukuoka Mayor Soichiro Takashima. Earlier that day, Mayor Kasim Reed hosted a bilateral meeting at City Hall with his Fukuoka counterpart, Mayor Takashima. The two discussed the sister city partnership and future cooperation.