STAND. COM. REP. NO. 1489
RE: S.C.R. No. 241
Honorable Ronald D. Kouchi
President of the Senate
Thirty-First State Legislature
Regular Session of 2021
State of Hawaii
Your Committee on Labor, Culture and the Arts, to which was referred S.C.R. No. 241 entitled:
"SENATE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION REQUESTING THE HAWAII SISTER-STATE COMMITTEE TO EVALUATE AND DEVELOP RECOMMENDATIONS FOR THE INITIATION OF A SISTER STATE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE STATE OF HAWAII AND THE PREFECTURE OF YAMAGUCHI, JAPAN, AND FORWARD ITS RECOMMENDATION TO THE LEGISLATURE, PURSUANT TO SECTION 229‑3, HAWAII REVISED STATUTES, FOR FURTHER ACTION,"
begs leave to report as follows:
The purpose and intent of this measure is to request the Hawaii Sister-State Committee (Sister-State Committee) to evaluate and develop recommendations for the initiation of a sister-state relationship between the State of Hawaii and the Prefecture of Yamaguchi, Japan, which is a prefecture situated in Japan's Chugoku region on the southwest side of Honshu Island with a population of approximately one million four hundred thousand.
Your Committee received testimony in support of this measure from the Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism and Honolulu Yamaguchi Kenjinkai.
Your Committee finds that Hawaii has developed and maintained a rich heritage of international relations and cultural exchanges since the days of the Hawaiian monarchy in the nineteenth century. Hawaii has an abiding interest in developing goodwill, friendship, and economic relations between the people of Hawaii and the people of many nations and continues to actively seek opportunities to expand its international ties. The Legislature instituted its first sister-state relationship in 1981, with the Prefecture of Fukuoka, Japan. Hawaii has since established sister-state relationships with various states and provinces throughout the globe as a means of asserting and promoting the State's active participation in international matters. As of today, the State maintains sister-state relationships with eighteen states and provinces, including five of Japan's forty-seven prefectures.
According to the Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism (DBEDT), most successful sister relationships are established when there is commonality between Hawaii and the sister, primarily from geographical, historical, cultural, or economic standpoints; there are active and interested support groups, such as Chambers of Commerce or cultural and civic associations; there are economic benefits for both sisters, such as increased numbers of visitors or enhanced investment or marketing opportunities; close ties have been established between educational institutions of the two potential sisters, including both student and faculty exchanges; and there is a clear, strong governmental interest in not only forming, but maintaining the relationship.
Your Committee finds that Hawaii and the people of Yamaguchi share a long history and strong bond, beginning with the immigration of 10,424 contract laborers to Hawaii between 1885 and 1894 as kanyaku imin (government-sponsored immigrants) pursuant to the Hawaiian-Japanese Labor Convention of 1886. Since then, there have been continuous cultural exchanges between the people of Hawaii and Yamaguchi. According to the Honolulu Yamaguchi Kenjinkai, Hawaii has a total of five Yamaguchi kenjinkais on the islands of Oahu, Maui, Kauai, and the Big Island. Over the years, the kenjinkais have held numerous events, and the prefectural government of Yamaguchi has participated in each of the significant events by sending delegations, often including the Governors themselves, to join in the celebrations. Most recently, Governor Tsugumasa Muraoka visited Honolulu in 2018 to celebrate the sixtieth anniversary of the founding of the Honolulu Yamaguchi Kenjinkai and to participate in the 150th anniversary of the arrival of the first Japanese immigrants to Hawaii, called the Gannenmono. Governor Muraoka supports the establishment of a sister-state relationship between Hawaii and Yamaguchi.
At the community-level, in addition to various tour groups from Yamaguchi visiting Hawaii each year and the Kauai Community College's academic exchange program with Yamaguchi University, a fisheries high school in Yamaguchi has a tradition of sending its students on a four-thousand-five-hundred-mile educational voyage across the Pacific Ocean aboard their ship, the Kaiyu Maru, to conduct its annual fisheries training off the coast of Hawaii. The students stop in Honolulu for a few days of rest and recuperation, during which they meet and socialize with members of the Honolulu Yamaguchi Kenjinkai by hosting receptions on the Kaiyu Maru and attending a picnic hosted by the kenjinkai. The Kaiyu Maru also brings onboard gifts from the Yamaguchi prefectural government, including prefectural products, that the kenjinkai distributes at its annual Honolulu Festival booth.
Your Committee finds that the sister-state relationship proposed by this measure will be highly beneficial in expanding tourism, strengthening cultural bonds, and advancing common goals of international peace and brotherhood. Your Committee further finds that the Sister-State Committee met on March 15, 2021, to review the Hawaii-Yamaguchi Sister-State application that was submitted by the Honolulu Yamaguchi Kenjinkai, and by a unanimous vote, approved to recommend the establishment of a sister-state relationship with Yamaguchi.
Your Committee has amended this measure by deleting its contents and replacing it with language, including an amended title, that establishes a sister-state relationship with Yamaguchi, by concurrent resolution, the next step as required by section 229-3, Hawaii Revised Statutes.
As affirmed by the record of votes of the members of your Committee on Labor, Culture and the Arts that is attached to this report, your Committee concurs with the intent and purpose of S.C.R. No. 241, as amended herein, and recommends its adoption in the form attached hereto as S.C.R. No. 241, S.D. 1.
Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committee on Labor, Culture and the Arts,
BRIAN T. TANIGUCHI, Chair