Rancho Palos Verdes and Sakura City in Japan forged a bond as sister cities at a virtual city council meeting on Aug. 4.
Their relationship began in 2001, when students from Ujiee Junior High School and Kitsuregawa Junior High School in Sakura City began traveling to RPV to attend Miraleste Intermediate School. Host families on the Palos Verdes Peninsula have opened their doors to more than 300 students from Sakura since.
“We yearn to celebrate our similarities and differences … today more than ever we seek to find friendship and common goodness,” said RPV Mayor John Cruikshank, at the ceremony.
Sakura City Mayor Takashi Hanatsuka and other city officials visited RPV and attended a City Council meeting in January where the student exchange program was recognized by the city.
“I think this is the beginning of a great era of deepening and strengthening our cultural and educational ties,” said Hanatsuka at the virtual ceremony.
RPV, with a population of 43,000, was founded in 1973, but Sakura City is its first sister city, a program that was launched by Pres. Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1956 to promote cultural and diplomatic relationships.
Sakura City, according to a press release, with a population of around 44,000, is 25 miles northeast of Tokyo and is best known for its cherry blossoms.