A delegation of Inagawa Junior High School students and teachers visited Ballarat on Monday.
As part of the Sister City agreement with Inagawa, which celebrates 31 years of cultural exchange and friendship this year, the eight students, their Principal Mr Yuji Suzuki and teacher Yasuhiko Ajisaka met with City of Ballarat Mayor Cr Samantha McIntosh and toured the Town Hall. The students also performed a dance routine for the Mayor.
Each year, the school sends a delegation to Ballarat. The students are hosted by the Ballarat Grammar community and will visit the Ballarat Wildlife Park, Sovereign Hill and Melbourne.
The Mayor hosted Sister City 30th anniversary celebrations in Ballarat in October last year, with Mayor Choji Fukuda and a large delegation of officials and community members visiting from Inagawa.
The Sister City agreement was designed to organise and facilitate educational and cultural exchanges, as well as to investigate economic development opportunities between the two municipalities.
The historic link was based on the rich gold mining deposits found in Ballarat, and the extensive silver ore deposits located in the Inagawa-cho region.
Since the signing of the relationship in 1988, a civic delegation has taken place every five years, alternating between Ballarat and Inagawa.
The relationship involves various exchanges of officials, students, teachers and City of Ballarat staff and Councillors. Many schools, community groups, organisations and individuals have benefited culturally from Ballarat’s relationship with Japan over 30 years.