Cooperation between the regions of Ukraine and Japan
Inter-regional cooperation is an essential part of bilateral relations between Ukraine and Japan.
In 1986 Odesa region and Kanagawa prefecture (with the capital in Yokohama – city with the second largest population in Japan) signed the Agreement about development of friendly relations. According to the above agreement both Ukrainian and Japanese sides have agreed to deepen mutual understanding and friendly relations between two countries. Until now various projects in cultural, humanitarian and medical spheres have been realized.
In 2006 Dnipropetrovsk Local Government decided to join to the peace keeping organization “Mayors for the Peace”, founded by Hiroshima City Council.
Economical direction of inter-regional cooperation is being developing as well. For example, in August 14-16, 2006 O. Kobori, the Head of Kyoto Chamber of Commerce and Industry visited Ukraine and had a number of meetings in Kyiv City Council and with Kyiv business community. During his visit he initiated the grant for Academy of Medical Science of Ukraine and Kyiv Institute of Oncology for purchasing up-to-date medical equipment for the children’s service.
On January 19, 2011, during the visit of the President of Ukraine Mr. Viktor Yanukovych to Japan, the Protocol on Cooperation between the Kyiv City State Administration and Municipality of Kyoto was signed by the Deputy Chief of Presidential Administration of Ukraine A.Honcharuk and the Mayor of Kyoto D.Kadokawa.
November 15 - 19, 2011, commemorating the 40th Anniversary of sister city relations between Kyiv and Kyoto and the development of the Protocol on Cooperation between the Kyiv City State Administration and Kyoto City Hall, the delegation of the KCSA headed by its Chairman O.Popov visited Japan.
During the visit, the sides noted the willingness to expand and deepen the existing forms of cooperation between Kyiv and Kyoto.
As for the region development policy, Japan pays special attention to the promotion of country’s various regions and cities. Due to the fact that during the official Ukrainian delegations visits such a policy enables visiting not only Tokyo but also others economical, cultural and historical centers of Japan, it contributes greatly to the development of interregional relations. Thanks to that Ukrainian official have more than once visited different Japanese regions, such as Kansai (Osaka and Kyoto), Chubu (Nagoya), Chugoku (Hiroshima), Kyushu (Nagasaki). All the contacts between Ukrainian government and the members of Japanese local governments help to deepen Ukrainian-Japanese interregional relations as well as bilateral relations in general.
Towns-partners of Ukraine and Japan
Ukrainian cities Kyiv and Odesa are sister cities with Japanese cities Kyoto and Yokohama. Odesa and Yokohama became sister cities in 1965; Kyiv and Kyoto – in 1972. Till now close relations were established between cities administrations as well as between NGOs, such as Odesa-Yokohama Friendship Committee at the Yokohama City Council and Kyoto Public Association for Cultural Cooperation, headed by Michiko Takao, Director of Terada Ballet art School, which deals with the issue of establishing sister cities relations.
Cooperation in cultural and humanitarian spheres, such as art, education, sports, cultural exchange, etc plays the most significant role in sister cities relations. In addition the sister cities relations promote experience exchange between City Councils in such spheres as infrastructure development, economical, social and cultural city development, etc.
In recent years due to increased contacts between Heads of local Governments, there has been a significant revitalization of relations between Ukrainian and Japanese sister cities. Kyiv Vice-Mayor V.Romashko took part in the ceremony of the celebration of the 30th anniversary of establishing sister cities relations between Kyiv and Kyoto in 2002. In 2005, Odesa Mayor E.Hurvitz visited Japan as a member of the delegation headed by the President of Ukraine Viktor Yushchenko. Among other cities he visited Yokohama where had the meeting in the City Council.
Owing to the efforts of Michiko Takao, a lot of art events involving Kyiv State Dance School take place in Kyoto. The students of Terada Ballet Art School as well as of Kyiv State Dance School take part in numerous joint Gala Concerts. The last such Gala Concert took place in August, 2009 within the framework of the project “Young Artists of Ukraine and Japan”.
In 2009, for the significant contribution to the strengthening of Ukraine’s international image, promotion of its historical heritage and present-to-day development, Michiko Takao was awarded an order of Princess Olga (3rd grade).
In 2010 Odesa and Yokohama celebrated the 45th anniversary, and in 2011 Kyiv and Kyoto celebrated the 40th anniversary of establishing sister-cities relations.
During visit of the Ukrainian government delegation led by Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine B.Kolesnikov in Japan (September 23 – 26, 2010) Minister of Culture and Tourism M. Kulynyak met with Mayor of Kyoto D.Kadokava. On the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the establishment of sister relationships, both sides exchanged views on the timing and content of the cultural events that took place in Kyiv and Kyoto in 2011.
In order to strengthen the friendship ties between Odesa and Yokohama the Deputy Head of International expositions of Odesa city Administration Mrs. S.Boyeva visited Japan in October 2010 at the invitation of the Mayor of Yokohama city.
During her stay in Japan a series of meetings with the leadership of the International Department of Yokohama City Administration was held. They exchanged opinions on the urgent issues of bilateral cooperation and the further ways to enhance relations between the two sister cities.
On the occasion of the 45-th Anniversary of the establishment of sister city relations between Odesa and Yokohama, on October 18, 2010, the meeting of the Ambassador of Ukraine to Japan M.Kulinych and Chairman of the Committee of Friendship «Yokohama-Odesa» Kazuo Ando was held. The parties discussed a wide range of issues concerning the current development and prospects for further strengthening of friendly relations between local governments and communities of both cities. The parties also noted the willingness of the organization to continue on a regular basis of cultural and educational activities that contribute to promoting the two countries, and to make reciprocal visits at the high level and the NGO’s both cities.
On January 19, 2011, during the visit of the President of Ukraine Mr. Viktor Yanukovych to Japan, the Protocol on Cooperation between the Kyiv City State Administration and Municipality of Kyoto was signed by the Deputy Chief of Presidential Administration of Ukraine A.Honcharuk and the Mayor of Kyoto D.Kadokava.
Development of inter-regional ties between Ukraine and Japan remains the focus of the Embassy of Ukraine in Japan. In particular, during 2012-2014, the Embassy provided assistance for the participation of the representatives of Ukraine in the Mayors for Peace Conference (Hiroshima City), at the meeting of the Association of Public Exchanges between Kyoto and Kyiv (Kyoto), as well as in the International Conference of the League of Historic Cities the world (in 2012 Hue, Vietnam, in 2014 - Yangzhou, PRC), whose chairman is the Mayor of Kyoto Mr. Daisaku Kadokawa.
In 2015, Odesa and Yokohama celebrated the 50th anniversary of the establishment of sister cities relations.
In this regard, on September 2 with the assistance of the Ambassador of Japan to Ukraine Mr. Shigeki Sumi, Odesa city Mayor Mr. Gennadiy Trukhanov and the Chairman of the international department of the municipality of Yokohama Mr. Makoto Sekiyama, roses – a symbol of the city of Yokohama – were planted in the Odesa park near the Potemkin steps.
On 3-5 September 2015 the “Days of Japan” organized by the Odesa City Council in cooperation with the Ukrainian-Japanese Center of the National Technical University of Ukraine "Kyiv Polytechnic Institute" took place in Odesa. Within the framework of this event a Japanese language lecture was held at the Central Municipal Library named after. I.Y.Franko.
During the "Days of Japan" Odesa citizens and visitors of the city had an opportunity to get acquainted with Japanese culture. Thus, an exhibition of Japanese dolls, photographs and calligraphy works took place at the exhibition halls of the Odesa Fine Arts Museum. There have also been held master classes on calligraphy, origami and furoshiki, demonstrations, lectures and film shows.
In the framework of the 45th anniversary of the establishment of sister cities relations between Kyiv and Kyoto, on August 13, 2016 a ballet performance "Nutcracker" was held at the “ROHM Theater Kyoto” with the participation of well-known ballet dancers D.Matviyenko, N.Terada as well as artists and students of the Kyiv National Choreographic School, the Terada Ballet Art School and the Kyoto Ballet Theater.
In addition, the Chairman of the Citizen's Association of Cultural Exchanges of Kyoto and Kyiv M.Takao took part in a series of events dedicated to the 45th anniversary of the establishment of sister relations between the two cities, which took place both in Ukraine and Japan, in particular, during the visit of the Kyiv city Mayor Mr. Vitali Klitschko to Kyoto.
On September 3-8, 2016 Mayor of Kyiv Mr. Vitali Klitschko paid a working visit to Japan at the invitation of the Mayor of Kyoto to celebrate the 45th anniversary of the establishment of sister cities relations between Kyiv and Kyoto.
On September 7, 2016, during the meeting with the Mayor of Kyoto Mr. Daisaku Kadokawa the parties discussed expansion of areas of cooperation between the sister cities in the framework of the celebration of the 45th anniversary of the establishment of partner towns relations. In particular, the Mayors agreed on cooperation regarding the introduction of Japanese high technologies in the areas of public transport in Kyiv, exchange of students, implementation of a number of projects in the educational and scientific spheres. An implementation of a number of projects in 2017 within the framework of the Year of Japan in Ukraine was also discussed, in particular, reopening of “Kyoto Park” in Kyiv. V.Klitschko invited D.Kadokawa to visit Kyiv in 2017. During his visit to Kyoto, V. Klitschko also visited the Advanced Science, Technology & Management Research Institute of Kyoto (ASTEM).
On June 2-6, 2017 the Mayor of Kyoto Mr. Daisaku Kadokawa visited Kyiv. During his visit the Mayor of Kyoto along with the Mayor of Kyiv V.Klitschko opened the the reconstructed "Kyoto Park" in the Desniansky district of Kyiv, as well as the Japanese stone garden, which was created in the park. The mayors of the sister cities laid the time capsule in the new "Garden of Stones" and planted sakura trees in the park, expressing their hope for further deepening of the relations between Kyiv and Kyoto.
In 2018, the Embassy of Ukraine in Japan continued expanding ties with cities and regions of Japan.
On March 6, 2018 Minister-Counsellor of the Embassy of Ukraine in Japan Y.Lutovinov met with the Mayor of the city of Aizuwakamatsu, Pref. Fukushima Mr. S.Muroi and the Chairman of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the mentioned city Mr. T.Shibukata. During the meetings the parties discussed current state and prospects of development of cooperation between the regions of Ukraine and Japan.
On October 30, 2018 Ambassador of Ukraine to Japan Dr. I.Kharchenko visited the city of Kanazawa, Pref. Kanazawa. In the course of the visit, Ambassador met with the Deputy Mayor of Kanazawa Mr. D.Hosoda, with whom discussed the prospects of Ukrainian-Japanese interregional cooperation.
On October 17-21, 2019, the mayor of Zhytomyr city S.Sukhomlyn visited the city of Tokai at the invitation of its mayor to establish cultural and economic ties, as well as to establish sister city ties between Zhytomyr and Tokai. During the visit, the Mayor of Zhytomyr visited kindergartens, rehabilitation centers, the city hospital, the garbage processing plant, industrial enterprises and the Cultural Center of Tokai. The possibility of establishing cultural ties was discussed, in particular, a meeting was held with the management of Tokai University, as a result of which an agreement was reached to launch a Ukrainian-Japanese exchange of students.
On October 1, 2020, a virtual photo exhibition dedicated to the 55th anniversary of the establishment of sister city relations between Odesa and Yokohama was published on the website of the Embassy of Ukraine in Japan. This event was organized by the Embassy of Ukraine in Japan in cooperation with the Yokohama City Hall. The exhibition presents photos of the mentioned cities by Ukrainian photographer from Odesa Mr. Oleksandr Gimanov and Japanese photographer from Yokohama Mr. Katsutaro Hirayama (https://japan.mfa.gov.ua/news/fotovistavka-prisvyachena-55-j-richnici-vstanovlennya -pobratimskih-zvyazkiv-mizh-odesoyu-ta-jokogamoyu? fbclid = IwAR3SduMnCUsu2msbujH2F95n8WP0bNJbE13GQuSl3TAESeqrTlbLl_xDWQ4).