Garden salutes sister city

Sister city connection: Derinya Primary School student Jarvis, Japanese Consulate vice consul Shotu Tohara, Frankston mayor Michael O’Reilly, Frankston Susono Friendship Association chairperson Peter Patterson, former Australian Arrow CEO Craig O’Donohue, and Japanese exchange student Tenka at the Susono tribute garden opening. Picture: Gary Sissons

FRANKSTON’s sister city relationship with Susono in Japan has been recognised with the opening of a tribute garden.

The mayor Michael O’Reilly said the garden, next to Frankston Private Hospital, paid “tribute to Frankston’s enduring friendship with its Japanese sister city.” Susono is a city 115 kilometres from Tokyo, at the foot of Mount Fuji.

The sister city relationship was established in 1982 with the help of the Yakazi Australia group. The garden features a plaque recognising their work.

“Yazaki were a global leader in the car industry and the reason Susono became our sister city is because it is the world headquarters of Yazaki and Frankston was the location of Yazaki’s Oceania operations which they named Australian Arrow,” Cr O’Reilly said.

“Although the Yazaki closed in 2017 when the Australian car industry ceased, the active relationship between our two cities continues to grow thanks to the Frankston Susono Friendship Association, led by the dedicated Peter Patterson, and the Susono Overseas Friendship Association working to maintain the connection.

“Both groups are community volunteers who for 37 years have helped each city celebrate each other’s culture, promote travel, including the former mayor’s visit to Susono last year, and develop youth culture exchange programs.”

Cherry blossoms have been planted in the garden. Cr O’Reilly said “we are all looking forward to watching it flourish in spring and to see all the transformations it takes throughout the different seasons.”

First published in the Frankston Times – 19 August 2019

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