By Tan Mei Kuan
To mark the 30-year milestone of Ipoh-Fukuoka Sister Cities, the Mayor of Fukuoka City, Soichiro Takashima visited the 1.2-hectare Japanese garden at D.R. Seenivasagam Recreational Park with the accompaniment of Mayor Dato’ Ahmad Suaidi Abdul Rahim on Wednesday, December 4.
This pristine garden represents the beautiful scenery of Satoyama, ponds and paddy fields, the symbol of Fukuoka.
The highlights of the morning included a plaque signing and tree planting ceremony where a selected tree, known as ‘Tabebuia Rosea spp’ and resembles the pink sakura, was planted as a symbol of fellowship. It is a neotropical tree that can grow up to 30 metres and can reach a diameter of 100cm. Thus it is often planted in parks and gardens to provide shade and abundant flowers during the dry season.
Present were Masanobu Kusuki, 76th Vice Chairperson of Fukuoka City Council and Mohd Zakuan Hj Zakaria, Council Secretary.
The Japanese Garden was officially opened in June 1995 after an accord was signed between Ipoh and Fukuoka in March 1989, the first Sister City Agreement ever materialised between Japan and Malaysia.
Aim to establish cooperation in the field of economy, commerce, science, technology, culture, sports and education, various programmes have been implemented such as the annual Asia Pacific Children Convention and Sister City Student Exchange.
“I hope that this celebration will further strengthen our relationship. I am keen to work on urban issues being increasingly prominent on national policy agendas such as Smart City Development, Low Carbon City and initiatives promoting social inclusions and shared societies,” Ahmad Suaidi said during a gala dinner held on the same day to commemorate the anniversary.
According to Menteri Besar Dato’ Seri Ahmad Faizal Azumu, the guest of honour for the evening, the state government aspires to cooperate with Japan in general and Fukuoka in particular, on addressing the issues of an ageing society and creating opportunities for businesses and families by meeting the needs of retirees.
Present was His Excellency Shinichiro Kanoya, the Consul-General of Japan in Penang.