From left: Monterey Park City Manager Ron Bow, Fire Chief Scott Haberle, Police Captain Kelly Gordon, Interim Recreation Director Robert Aguirre, MP resident Ryoko Suzuki, Mayor Teresa Real Sebastian, Shin Masuda, Yuto Yoneji, MP Sister Cities representative David Ikeda, MP resident Henry Yasuda.
MONTEREY PARK — The City of Monterey Park welcomed Yuuto Yoneji and Shin Masuda, two senior officials with the Planning Department of Nachikatsuura, Japan to City Hall on Sept. 26.
The occasion commemorated the 50th anniversary of the Monterey Park-Nachikatsuura sister-city relationship established in 1967.
Situated in Wakayama Prefecture on Japan’s Pacific coast, Nachikatsuura was the first to become a sister city with Monterey Park. Established by Monterey Park residents, in particular Terry Suzuki, the program plays an important role in providing residents of both cities with the opportunity to discover another culture and foster international relationships.
This is accomplished through cultural events and programs like the Cultural Ambassador Program, in which both cities choose high school students to become ambassadors. These students participate in an exchange in which they tour their sister city and stay with locals for a period of time.
Yoneji and Masuda play an integral role in the student exchange program. During their Sept. 25-29 visit, the guests met with Monterey Park Mayor Teresa Real Sebastian, councilmember liaison and other city representatives to recognize the anniversary. Their stay also included tours of the Fire Department and Police Department as well as trips to notable Southland locations, including the Japanese American National Museum and Dodger Stadium.
“The City of Monterey Park values the long-standing partnership and history of cultural exchange with the City of Nachikatsuura and the respective sister-city organizations, and is honored to host representatives Yoneji and Masuda,” a city spokesperson said.
Monterey Park’s otr sister-city relationships include Morelia, Mexico; Yung-Ho, Taiwan; Quangzhou, China; and Yeongdeungpo-Gu, Korea.
Nachikatsuura representatives Yuto Yoneji and Shin Masuda present a gift to Monterey Park Mayor Teresa Real Sebastian.