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April 1, 1987

Soviet Consulate in Japan, Information on Ties between Cities of the Kansai Region and Cities in China

This document was made possible with support from Leon Levy Foundation




01.04.87. #70








Within the general scope of Sino-Japanese relations, there is an active development of ties between local administrative organs in Japan and the PRC, which, judging by everything, are given great importance by both sides. An important part of these ties are the sister-city ties between the Kansai region, which has been traditionally the center of Chinese influence in Japan, and Chinese cities and provinces. Currently, 24 cities and 5 prefectures in the Kansai region are maintaining and developing cooperative or friendly ties with their partners in the PRC.


The broadest and most diverse of such ties with the PRC are being developed by such leading Japanese cities as Osaka, Kyoto, and Kobe, as well as the Osaka prefecture.


A cooperation agreement between the cities Osaka and Shanghai was signed on April 18, 1974, during Osaka mayor Y. Osima's visit to Shanghai. The favorable conditions for this were created by the reestablishment of Sino-Japanese inter-country relations in 1972. In addition, Osaka and Shanghai have historically maintained traditional trade, economic and cultural ties. At the present time, relations between Osaka and Shanghai are developing more actively than with Osaka's other sister-cities: Leningrad, Milan, San Francisco, Sao Paulo, Melbourne and Chicago. In all, these ties can be separated into a number of main segments.


1. Youth exchanges. Began with the arrival of the "Osaka ship of Japanese-Sino friendship" in Shanghai in 1974, passengers of which included 400 young men and girls, who took part in the signing ceremony of the Sister-City Agreement between Osaka and Shanghai. Since then there have been regular exchanges of youth delegations. Every year since 1981 a delegation of the leaders of Osaka's youth organizations have been sent to Shanghai, comprising 20 persons. 3/4 of the expenses of such trips are funded by the youth organizations, with the rest subsidized by the Osaka mayoralty.


2. Ties in the field of education. Include exchanges between the two cities of exhibits of children's paintings and other examples of student art, exchange trips of school teacher delegations, maintaining of sister-ties between schools.


3. Sport ties. Result annually in the exchange of visits by the men's and women's volleyball teams, consisting of 20-25 persons. These exchanges are almost entirely financed by the companies "Santori" and "Matsushita Denki," which support private volleyball teams and do this with the purpose of self-promotion. In addition, they profit by charging admission for spectators of matches against Shanghai teams.


4. Ties in the field of economy and industrial technology. Since 1975, delegations of sma1l- and medium-sized businesses in Osaka have been sent to Shanghai to familiarize themselves with the business climate in China and to hold trade talks. In 1977, a Shanghai trade representative's office was opened in Osaka. Each year the Osaka Institute of Industry sends 2 specialists to Shanghai for a 2-week period, while each year 3 technical specialists from Shanghai study in Osaka. Since 1985 trade conferences have been held on a regular basis, with the participation of representatives from Osaka's business circles.


5. Ties in the field of shipping. Essentially began in 1972, and in 1981 an agreement was signed establishing sister-ties between the ports of Osaka and Shanghai. Both cities exchange delegations of shipping and port administration specialists. The Japanese side sends these delegations together with Osaka's mayor and TPP [abbreviation unknown].


6. Ties in the field of city planning. Began in 1982. Consist of exchanges of municipal service specialists.


7. Exchanges of flora and fauna representatives. Began in 1974, and include exchanges of rare specimens from the plant and animal kingdoms, information on the creation of parks, etc.


8. Ties in the field of environmental protection. Began in 1985, and are expressed through exchanges of environmental protection specialists.


9. Scientific ties between the top learning establishments. The foundation for these was laid in 1978. Since 1980 there have been exchanges of scientists from the universities of the two cities (3 person delegations for 2-week periods), and since 1983 - exchanges of students (1-2 persons for half-year periods).


10. Ties in the field of medicine. Began in 1975, consist of exchanges of delegations of specialists between the medical establishments of the two cities. The Japanese side is interested in the methods of Chinese traditional medicine (acupuncture, etc.), while the Chinese are acquainting themselves with modern achievements of Japanese medicine. Since 1981, every year 2 Chinese doctors from Shanghai go through a 3-month internship in Osaka.


11. Ties to include government organizations. The Japanese International Cooperation Administration organized two projects in Shanghai that involved the participation of specialists from Osaka:


        1) drafting a program to modernize the high-speed rail in Shanghai;


        2) drafting measures to fight environmental pollution in Shanghai.


12. Trade union ties. Began in 1977, consist of exchanges of delegations from the Osaka municipal workers union and the corresponding union in Shanghai.


An important role in the development of sister ties between the two cities is played by the direct air communication between them. The Japanese air carrier JAL and the Chinese state airline complete one flight each between Osaka and Shanghai. As a rule, the planes are completely full.


The prefecture of Osaka and the city of Shanghai have maintained between them friendly relations since 1980. The initiative to establish such ties was advanced by the Japanese side, and the Chinese responded positively, despite the fact that during that time Shanghai was developing its sister ties with the city of Osaka. The fact that the Japanese prefecture is maintaining friendly ties with the Chinese city and not with the province can in this case be explained by the fact that the city of Shanghai holds the status of a province in China. Thus, there exists the unusual situation in which Shanghai maintains and develops parallel ties with the local self-government organs of both the city of Osaka and the prefecture of Osaka. Moreover, the city of Osaka and the prefecture of Osaka have exchanges with the city of Shanghai based on their own separate agreements with the Chinese partners and independently of each other.


The ties between the prefecture of Osaka and the city of Shanghai are based on annual agreements on exchanges, concluded during the visits of delegations from the Osaka's prefectural administration and the administration of the city of Shanghai. The 7th such agreement, which is currently in effect, was signed in September 1986 during the visit of Osaka's prefectural delegation to Shanghai. The agreements provide for exchanges in the following fields:


1. Ties in the area of economy and trade provide for exchanges of specialists in the fields of business management (incl. the internship of Chinese in the Osaka prefecture) tourism, the dispatch of Osaka's trade-economic delegations to Shanghai, training of Chinese technical specialists in Osaka prefecture, and so on. An economic representative's office from the Osaka prefecture has been established in Shanghai.


2. Ties in the field of municipal development consist of exchanges of city planning specialists.


3. Ties in the field of agriculture consist of training Chinese specialists in the Osaka pref. and the dispatch of Japanese specialists to Shanghai. Workers from the so-called friendly people's communes in Shanghai go through internships in Osaka pref.; in turn, these communes invite agriculture specialists from Osaka to visit and exchange experiences. In addition, there are exchanges of seeds of selected agricultural products, as well as agricultural research information.


4. Ties in the field of medicine provide for exchanges of specialists, including the training of Chinese in the Osaka pref., as well as exchanges of medical information (books, materials, etc.).


5. Scientific-technical ties a realized in the form of mutual exchange of scientists and technical specialists.


6. Ties in the field of sport consist of visits by various Shanghai youth teams to the Osaka pref. for holding competitions.


7. Youth exchanges consist of visits to Shanghai by friendship delegations comprising of upper-c1assmen from the Osaka prefecture.


8. Ties in the field of so-called "people's well-being" are realized in the form of mutual exchanges of corresponding information and material.


9. Ties between legislative organs provide for exchanges of delegations from the Osaka prefectural assembly and the corresponding legislative organ of Shanghai.


The sister ties between Kyoto and Xian began to develop in May 1974. Since then the ties between these two ancient Japanese and Chinese capitals evolved and expanded into many areas. Currently, the spectrum of these ties is very broad and includes exchanges of delegations of municipal authorities, trade and economic representatives, technical specialists, scientists, religious leaders, medical personnel, as well as sports, cultural, youth and women's representatives. In Xian there are regular arrivals of "ships and planes of friendship" from Kyoto. Thus in 1977 a "ship of friendship" brought 470 Kyoto residents to Xian.


Students from Xian study in Kyoto, while technical specialists, doctors, hotel workers and others go through internships there. Friendly ties are maintained between the universities, schools, department stores and other institutions of the two cities. Both cities collaborated in the making of a movie on the development of Sino-Japanese cultural ties. As part of the sister-city arrangement between Kyoto and Xian, there are exchanges between friendship societies of the two countries. Art, trade and industry, and other exhibits are alternatingly held in both cities as a means of mutual acquaintance. Ties between Kyoto and Xian have recently been particularly active. Thus, in 1984 and 1986 there was an annual exchange of 10 delegations (on a bilateral basis) for various purposes.


The sister-city agreement between Kobe and Tianjin was signed in June 1973. Presently, ties between the two cities are developing on a broad basis and include exchanges of municipal government delegations, trade-economic delegations, technical specialists, medical personnel, youth, women, and others. Both cities regularly host various exhibits and other events. There are direct ties between foreign language institutes of the two cities, exchanges of rare specimens of flora and fauna. Several times Tianjin was visited by the "ship of friendship" from the city of Kobe, carrying over 400 people and headed by the mayor of Miyadziki, who was awarded the title of honorary citizen of Tianjin.


Within the parameters of sister ties, contacts are actively developing between the ports of the two cities, including exchanges of technical specialist delegations, information, etc. In 1984 the port of Tianjin saw the arrival of 12 specialists in the field of port management who were sent from Kobe for a period of2 years. They took part in the efforts to modernize the Chinese port and draft medium- and long-range plans for its development. Also worthy of attention are the examples of direct economic ties between the two cities, such as Kobe's purchase of cheap seafood (frozen shrimp, squid, etc.) and other items from Tianjin, and their sale in Japan at 2-3 times below market prices.


Worthy of particular attention are the trade and economic ties between the Kansai and Chinese sister-cities, which are playing an important role in the overall system of sister ties, and which can be partially explained by the ancient and traditional business cooperation between the Kansai region and China (suffice to say that Kansai represents 30% of all Japanese-Chinese trade). In the past several years, a number of municipalities in the Kansai region have adopted a course toward widening their foreign ties, regarding them as an integral part of their plans for regional development and thus opening additional possibilities for further development of trade and economic relations between the sister cities of Kansai and China. It should be noted that direct trade relations between sister cities, for example Osaka and Shanghai or Kobe and Tianjin, so far do not have significant importance, since their scope is relatively small. They are rather of a more symbolic nature, as with the above example of the seafood deal. In addition, the municipal authorities of the Japanese sister-cities, as well as their respective institutions and organizations, are playing a very active role as intermediaries, working to broaden the various contacts and exchanges between the business circles of both sides. On a practical level, this work includes the organization in Kansai and in the Chinese sister-cities specialized trade and industry exhibits, invitations to the Chinese partners to participate in international trade exhibits held in Kansai (the Osaka international trade fair, exhibits of imported goods in Osaka, Kobe, etc.), the collection, compilation and distribution of economic information of mutual interest, and so on. Recently, significant attention has been focused on the question of acquainting local business circles with the possibilities and conditions for establishing mixed Sino-Japanese enterprises in the PRC. The leading role in this regard belongs to the Institute of Foreign Trade under the Osaka prefecture, employees of which are working in the Osaka prefecture's economic mission in Shanghai and regularly hold seminars in Osaka on this question with interestedrepresentatives from local business circles.


It should also be noted that the Japanese side, with the aim of employing sister ties for practical purposes, actively supports and strives to make use of those forms of cooperation which are proposed by the Chinese side. Thus, for example, the municipal authorities of Kobe were given support for the idea of holding (in 1986) an economic seminar in the sister-city of Tianjin, which was nicknamed the "Tianjin Seminar" (in Japanese "Tensin Kondankai',) and which will be held on a regular basis. According to the materials published by the organizational committee " of the ''Tianjin Seminar," the main objective of this forum is to attract a wider circle of Japanese businessmen, with their capital and technology, to participate in mixed enterprises, and, on a broader plane, to participate in the realization of the program to modernize Chinese economy.


An analysis of the contents of sister ties between local government organs in the Kansai region and the PRC provide support for the assertion that these ties are playing an important role in the development of the region's relations with the PRC. They consist of a broad spectrum, though their foundation lies in the trade-economic and scientific-technical exchanges. Both sides, having given significant importance to sister ties, are pursuing their own objectives: the Chinese side is striving in every way to utilize them as a means of receiving access to advanced Japanese technology in different fields and strengthening its ideological influence in the Kansai region, while the Japanese are seeking to penetrate the Chinese market for goods and technology. Judging by everything, the sister ties between the Kansai region and the PRC will continue to be actively developed by both sides, with trade-economic and scientific-technical relations leading the way.


Based on the Chinese experience, ties on the level of local government organs can be an important channel for multi-sided exchange with Japan, as an addition to government-level relations, as well as an influence on the latter. In addition, sister ties can be successfully used to study the achievements of Japan in various fields of scientific-technical progress and to receive its advanced technology to satisfy the needs of the country's economy. All this must be borne in mind while developing relations between the USSR and Japan on the level of local government organs.




 [ signature]   V.O. KISTANOV



[ signature]    A.N. SHEPELENKO




Printed 9 cps.


2 - UASS

3 - MID RSFSR [Foreign Ministry of the Russian Federation]


5 - Lengorispolkom [Leningrad City Executive Committee]

6 - MID Ukrainian SSR

7 - MID Latvian SSR

8 - USSR Emb. in Japan

9 - to file


1.04.87 ln/VK

An overview of sister-city ties between Japanese cities in the Kansai region, which has been traditionally the center of Chinese influence in Japan, and Chinese cities and provinces.


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Latvian State Archives, fonds 1051, apr. 1, lietas 154, lapa 19-26; translation for CWIHP by Daniel Rozas.


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