April 11, 2018
This week, four council colleagues, City staff, and I visited Okayama, Japan in recognition of the 60th anniversary of the San Jose and Okayama Sister City relationship. Okayama and San Jose have been exchanging resources, innovative ideas, and programs for decades. Together, we have sustained a long-lasting friendship that has brought many benefits to both our cities. I am honored to be a part of this trip and to reciprocate the enthusiastic visit from the 120-person Okayama delegation that was welcomed to San Jose in 2017.
Over the course of our three-day visit to Okayama, we have discussed and learned about:
- Promoting tourism;
- The impacts and benefits of high-speed rail and public transit systems;
- Innovative public-private partnerships that promote industry and have gained national recognition;
- Academic partnerships between our respective universities in research and development;
- The benefits of cultural exchange; and
- The importance of good relations in our sometimes acrimonious world.
I am disappointed by the way the Mayor has voiced his disapproval of the delegation attending this Japan trip. Instead, we should focus on how we can utilize our lessons from Japan to solve our City’s most pressing issues.
While I am in Japan, the work back home continues. My team remains committed to their responsibilities: responding to constituents, conducting policy research for upcoming meetings, engaging community leaders and businesses, and preparing for upcoming events that will unite hundreds of residents.
Contrary to other suggestions, City business-related travel should not be funded only by special interests or available exclusively to independently wealthy individuals. Upon my return, I look forward to a robust and thoughtful discussion with the entire City Council, Sister City partners, and stakeholders on our City’s travel policies. I am committed to fiscal responsibility, transparency, and accountability.
During these past few days, I have been humbled by the gracious welcome we have received everywhere we have visited. Local leaders, businesses, students, and community members have all treated us with great respect and appreciation. As City leaders, we must show the same respect to both our regional and international partners.