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The City of Portland, Oregon

Ted Wheeler

Mayor, City of Portland

main phone: 503-823-4120

1221 SW 4th Ave, Room 340, Portland, OR 97204

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Portland celebrates 60 years of sister city partnership with Sapporo and bolsters economic development with Japan

City of Portland seal

Office of Mayor Ted Wheeler

City of Portland




Oct. 18, 2019

Contact: Tim Becker

Portland celebrates 60 years of sister city partnership with Sapporo and bolsters economic development with Japan

One of the oldest sister city partnerships in the country, City delegates will be joined by Royal Rosarians, Travel Portland, Portland-Sapporo Sister City Association and others in Japan

 Mayor Ted Wheeler will be joining the Portland-Sapporo Sister City Association and other agencies in Japan to honor the 60th Anniversary of the relationship between Portland and Sapporo next week. Established in 1959 out of the shared desire for peace and productivity, the bond between Portland and Sapporo is one of the first sister city relationships to be established in the United States. The rich history and traditions shared by the two cities are the backbone of a successful international trade initiative. Earlier this year, Mayor Wheeler had the pleasure of hosting Mayor Katsuhiro Akimoto and a delegation of 90 people from Sapporo while celebrating the 60th Anniversary on Portland soil.

“60 years together means 60 years of sharing economic prosperity, knowledge, earthquake resilience strategies and the forging of deep bonds,” Mayor Wheeler said. “We’re looking forward to celebrating this significant milestone with our friends across the Pacific Ocean, and to building stronger relationships city to city at a time when the relationships between nations sometimes struggle. It’s during these times that cities come together and lead.”

"I am both honored and humbled to be traveling to Sapporo to celebrate the 60th Anniversary of this friendship with Mayor Wheeler and our 46 member delegation,” said Michael Bacon, President of the Portland-Sapporo Sister City Association. “Connecting the people of Sapporo and Portland through economic, cultural and educational exchanges continues to fulfill our mission of building a more peaceful and sustainable world."

Mayor Wheeler is also confirmed to visit Tokyo and the Kansai region to strengthen economic partnerships in regions that Prosper Portland, the City’s economic development agency, has identified as strategic markets for developing trade opportunities. Japan is Oregon’s 5th-largest export market with $1.8 billion U.S. dollars of goods and services from Oregon sold there in 2017.  

Japan invests significantly in Oregon and our region compared to other top trading countries contributing to foreign direct investment here , making our relationship with them compelling and vital,” Mayor Wheeler said. “Japanese investor companies are crucial to our economy, employing almost 7,000 Oregonians, many of whom work in the City of Portland.”

“As Japanese businesses invest and hire people in the region and the trade grows, the bond between the City of Portland, the State of Oregon and Japan grows stronger,” said Masa Yamaguchi, an attorney at Lane Powell law firm who regularly works with in-bound Japanese businesses that are making direct investments in the Pacific Northwest region. “Japanese people feel welcomed and comfortable here. The mutually beneficial relationships promote further growth and prosperity for the people on both sides of the Pacific.”

During this trip, the Portland delegation will be learning about:


  • Advancing Sustainability and Innovation
  • Emergency management and safety around Seismic Resiliency
  • Promoting Equity, Inclusion & Diversity  
  • Developing new economic partnerships 


Partners joining the Mayor’s delegation include the Portland-Sapporo Sister City Association, Prosper Portland, Travel Portland, Portland Japanese Garden, the Royal Rosarians, Oregon Nikkei Legacy Center, Portland State University and a contingent of citizens. Mayor Wheeler’s mission in Japan begins Wednesday, Oct. 23, and ends Thursday, Oct. 31.