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Hales, city officials leave for Japanese trade mission

Mayor Charlie Hales is leading a trade mission to Japan this week.

The small delegation of city leaders departed from Portland on Wednesday, Sept. 3, and will return on Tuesday, Sept. 9.

“Portland is an international city, and we are seeing this increasingly in our economy,”

says Hales. “We have come through the Great Recession and we are seeing our economy

on the rise. But broadening international relations will hedge the city’s bet against the

next recession.”

Joining Hales on the trip are two members of the city’s Office of Government Relations — Director Martha Pellegrino and Hector Miramontes, the city’s international relations director — and Mitsushiro Yamazaki, business development officer at the Portland Development Commission.

As part of the mission, Hales will visit Sapporo, Portland's official sister city in Japan. There, he and Sapporo Mayor Fumio Ueda will sign an agreement to form an arts exchange between the

sister cities.

Hales will also visit the Hokkaido Shimbun Newspaper, tour the Sapporo International Art Festival, and take part in the 55th anniversary ceremony of the Portland Pavilion in Sapporo Art Park. And the delegation will tour Portland Square at Horoshira Bridge.

On Saturday, Hales will speak at a symposium focused on “Lifestyle Portland” along with Yamazaki and Jeff Hammerly of Travel Portland.

After that, the delegation heads to Tokyo on Sunday, where it will meet with representatives of Sekisui House, Japan’s second-largest homebuilder, which is focusing on green building and sustainability.

“We have a lot to learn from Japan’s green building industry, and they have a lot to learn

from us,” Hales says. “This is an opportunity share best practices.”

The delegation will also meet with representatives of the Japanese government’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transportation and Tourism, which has jurisdiction over such issues as land-use planning, urban development, housing, harbors and disaster preparedness.

“The ministry’s areas of expertise align with a lot of the driving issues here in Portland,” Hales says.

The Tokyo visit also includes a meeting with Mitsui Fudosan, the largest real estate developer

in Japan and founding member of Japan’s Smart City Planning Inc.

The trip comes after Mayor Ueda of Sapporo brought a delegation of approximately 90 people to Portland in June during the Portland Rose Festival. It also marks the 55th anniversary of Portland's sister city relationship with Sapporo.

This is Hales’s third overseas trip since taking office in January 2013, following trips to China and South Africa.