International Exchanges

Tsuruoka has established friendly relationships with four cities around the world and sends and receives the young through various international exchange activities.

City of New Brunswick [USA]

City of New Brunswick [USA]
In 1867, a samurai from Shonai named Saburo Takagi was the first man from Shonai to go to the United States. He studied at Rutgers in the city of New Brunswick. Later, Takagi became the vice-consul in San Francisco and then in 1876, the consul in New York, contributing significantly to the friendship between the United States and Japan.

With such a background, in 1960, when celebrating the 100th anniversary of US-Japan friendship, the president of the Rotary Club of Tsuruoka proposed a relationship of sister cities to the mayor of New Brunswick, which resulted in conclusion of the pact. Since then, numerous exchange programs have been organized in a variety of fields, including the inauguration of the Tsuruoka New Brunswick Friendship Association (1983), reciprocal visits of goodwill delegations, invitation of assistant language teachers, reciprocal visits by junior high students, etc.


City of La Foa [New Caledonia]

City of La Foa [New Caledonia]
In May 1990, a delegation from the city of La Foa, with its mayor and several members, visited Tsuruoka City, hoping “to enhance friendship permanently with one of the cities in Japan, an island nation surrounded by the sea in the Pacific Realm, like New Caledonia.” Since then, exchange activities have actively been carried out by elementary and junior high students as well as by some private organizations. In 1992, Friendship Associations were inaugurated one after another in both cities to enhance their relationship at a citizen’s level.

In 1995, the friendship pact was concluded between the two cities and since then, exchange activities have been even more active, including reciprocal visits by elementary and junior high students, and exchanges between the Lions Clubs of both cities, resulting in enhanced friendship.


Commune of Arcevia [Italy]

Commune of Arcevia [Italy]
Commune of Arcevia is known for active cultivation of olives, grapes and wheat. Organic farmers and farmer’s cooperatives can be found and activities on slow food have been established.

The town of Fujishima (currently included in Tsuruoka City) has been promoting creation of a friendly and eco-friendly town, and since 2003, organic farmers of both towns have been in friendly relationships.

In 2006, a “Joint Declaration of Promoting the Agriculture Friendly Both to People and to the environment” was adopted among farmers in the presence of the delegates from both towns. Industrial exchanges still continue among farmers, through reciprocal visits, introduction of farm products and processed foods from both areas, and their distribution.


Southern Black Forest Nature Park [Germany]

Southern Black Forest Nature Park [Germany]
The Southern Black Forest Nature Park is engaged in making good use of and preserving various local resources in forests and rural villages while promoting development of sustainable areas.

Exchanges between the park and Tsuruoka City have been maintained for over 20 years, mainly by Dr. Masami Kitamura, honorary citizen of Tsuruoka, and have been enhanced at a citizen’s level. In 2009, the friendship pact was concluded between the park and Tsuruoka City in Ferdberg, Germany.

Tsuruoka has been aiming to promote a “City of Forests and Culture,” and actively organizing a variety of exchanges, including symposiums to enhance understanding of each others’ thoughts on forests, such as Park’s initiative of “protection by utilization” and Tsuruoka’s initiatives of slash-and-burn, strolls and utilization of forests through educational programs.


Exchanges with Asian and African Countries

Exchanges with Asian and African Countries
To contribute to the development of agricultural technologies in developing countries, Tsuruoka City has been undertaking since 1995 a ten-day agricultural training program for trainees who are engaged in development of farming villages in Asian and African countries, who also belong to the Asian Rural Institute, a non-government organization whose mission is to foster leaders capable of becoming self-reliant instructors. The trainees take part in this program to contribute to their own country’s rural development and education as well as to resolve such issues as starvation and poverty through various curricula, including hands-on activities and organic agricultural training. In August 2012, trainees from twelve different, including Brazil, Cameroon, East Timor, Haiti, India, Indonesia, Liberia, Malawi, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines and Sri Lanka, countries participated in the program.