On July 23, Mayor Park Won Soon met with Tokyo Governor Masuzoe Yoichi, during his official visit to Seoul, to discuss exchange and cooperation regarding urban safety, environment, welfare, culture and tourism, and sports, and signed an MOU.
The governor of Tokyo shared with Seoul his city’s accumulated knowledge on urban safety, such as earthquake-proofing deteriorating structures and urban infrastructure and measures to prevent and deal with terrorist activities in the subway system. Moreover, Seoul will cooperate with Tokyo to ensure the successful hosting of the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics and Paralympics.
Mayor Park and Governor Masuzoe also discussed practical methods of exchange and cooperation, in terms of challenges that require joint responses, including Northeast Asia’s “ultrafine particle” (PM2.5) air quality issue, the attraction of tourists to both cities, and response measures for avian influenza and other epidemics.
This visit to Seoul by Tokyo Governor Masuzoe is the first time that a governor of Tokyo has paid an official visit to Seoul in 18 years, since former Tokyo Governor Aoshima Yukio paid an official visit in 1996.
The Seoul Metropolitan Government hopes that Governor Masuzoe’s visit will be a turning point in the level of exchange between the two cities, encouraging them to strengthen their relationship beyond that of the past and come up with practical measures for exchange that will benefit the citizens of both cities.
Seoul and Tokyo became sister cities on September 3, 1988, and have been pursuing exchange and cooperation in various sectors, such as environment, transportation, and urban planning. In particular, the first foreign city that Mayor Park visited after his inauguration as Seoul Mayor in February 2012 was Tokyo, where he toured facilities related to the prevention of damage by rainstorms, snowstorms, and earthquakes.
“The governments of Seoul and Tokyo have discussed the ‘One-Asia Pass’ project, which focuses on providing benefits for citizens of sister cities when using cultural or tourist facilities,” said Seoul Mayor Park Won Soon. He also added, “We have decided to share various practical policies, technologies, and information and cooperate in various areas. The Seoul Metropolitan Government will continue to work towards applying policy knowledge that we have gained through discussions and exchanges with other foreign cities to the development of beneficial policies and projects for our own citizens.”