Gov. Snyder celebrates 50th anniversary of sister-state relationship with Shiga Prefecture in Japan, promotes cultural diplomacy


Japan celebration among stops on 10-day Japan-Germany trip to attract foreign investment to Michigan

Friday, Sept. 8, 2017

LANSING, Mich. – Gov. Rick Snyder today visited with officials from Michigan’s sister state, Shiga Prefecture, where he participated in the kickoff of the 50-year anniversary celebration honoring the sister-state relationship.

“The long history of the Michigan-Shiga Sister State Agreement is a living example of how two states with different histories and cultures can connect deeply and culturally with each other, even though those states are on opposite ends of the world,” Snyder said. “The more we share what we can learn from each other, the more we realize how much we already have in common. I look forward to even more growth in our relationship over the next 50 years.”

The governor joined the governor of Shiga, the Japan general consul, the U.S. general counsel, members of the Intercultural Association for Globalization, and representatives from the Michigan Shiga Sister State board of directors.

“In today’s world, the great challenge is for countries and states to build relationships based on trust, respect and mutual understanding,” Snyder said. “Michigan and Shiga are a perfect model for how people working together can get this done.”

The sister-state relationship was established in 1967 when then-Michigan Gov. George Romney signed the agreement. Since then, thousands of citizens from Michigan and Shiga have participated in cross-cultural exchange activities, including student and teacher exchanges, cultural events, art exhibits and artist exchanges as well as economic development initiatives.

The relationship has inspired cultural sites in Michigan, including the Japanese garden at Michigan State University, Shigematsu Memorial Japanese Garden at Lansing Community College, the annual Japan Festival in Novi, Michigan Japanese Quiz Bowl, and the Michigan Language Japanese Speech Contest. It has also led to the creation of the Japan Center for Michigan Universities, which provides immersive education for students from across the state interested in a study abroad program in Japan.

Other missions led by Snyder and Lt. Gov. Brian Calley include France, Japan, South Korea, Canada, the Netherlands, Brazil, Mexico, Israel, Chile, Columbia, India, Switzerland, Germany, Italy, Ireland and Great Britain. The missions have resulted in hundreds of millions of dollars of investments in Michigan by foreign companies adding thousands of jobs to Michigan’s workforce.