Mayor's Office Press Release

Houston and Chiba Japan Mark 50 Years as Sister Cities

October 25, 2022 -- The City of Houston and the City of Chiba marked 50 years of sister-city friendship at a special celebration on Tuesday, October 25, 2022, with a delegation of Houston business and governmental leaders visiting Chiba.

Mayor Sylvester Turner met with Chiba Mayor Shunichi Kamiya and additional Houston delegation members, including Greater Houston Partnership President and CEO Bob Harvey, members of the Houston City Council, and other dignitaries. The celebration included in-depth meetings to discuss economic Meeting, tours of Chiba landmarks, and a formal reception dinner.

During a gift exchange to commemorate the special occasion, Mayor Turner presented Houston Astros jerseys to Toshihito Kumagai, governor of the Chiba Prefecture, and Chiba Mayor Kamiya. Both elected leaders are baseball enthusiasts and have attended games at Minute Maid Park.

Group Photo with Chiba Governor

Photo from left: Andy Icken, Council Member David Robinson, Mayor Pro Tem Dave Martin, Mayor Turner, Gov. Kumagai, Bob Harvey, Marvalette Hunter and Chris Olson

Mayor Turner with Mayor Kamiya

Mayor Turner with Mayor Kamiya

The meeting took place on the second day of the investment and trade mission to Japan led by Mayor Turner and the Greater Houston Partnership to promote Houston as a strong and reliable partner in energy transition, innovation, advanced manufacturing, life sciences, and transportation.

"The City of Houston is proud of our sister city relationship with Chiba. We may live on different continents, but we share a close bond and mutual desire to provide business, educational, and cultural exchanges for the people of both cities," said Mayor Turner. "The 50th anniversary allows us to recommit to an enduring friendship and promote a message of goodwill, respect, and understanding."

Following a private meeting to discuss issues that connect the two cities, the mayors signed a Reaffirmation of the Sister City Relationship Agreement. The agreement represents the shared commitment between Houston and Chiba to continue collaboration and goodwill through existing and new exchanges in tourism, economic development, education, and arts and culture.

Also durinig the reception, Mayor Turner was granted honorary citizenship of Chiba City.

Delegation Reception Photo

“Chiba City is very pleased to welcome Mayor Turner and the official delegation from Houston to the 50th-anniversary celebration of our sister city relationship,” said Mayor Kamiya. “To date, more than 200 young people have had the opportunity to participate in our Youth Ambassador Exchange Program, strengthening the ties between our two cities. Today, our bond was further deepened through the sharing of information on initiatives addressing environmental problems and urban development – fruitful discussions that will lead to new solutions and new forms of economic growth. I am confident that the Chiba-Houston relationship will continue to grow as we look toward the next 50 years.”

The port cities of Houston and Chiba entered into a sister city agreement on October 24, 1972, undertaking to work in unison to establish economic and cultural ties. The agreement was signed during a similar trade and investment mission with former City of Houston Mayor Louie Welch and City of Chiba Mayor Kazushige Araki.

Mayor Louie Welch and Chiba Mayor Araki

Houston Mayor Louie Welch and Chiba City Mayor Kazushige Araki exchanging gifts at the sister city pact signing in Chiba.

Through the decades that Houston and Chiba have stood together as sister cities, cooperation has been strengthened not only through people-to-people exchange but also through acts of kindness and expressions of solidarity in the face of recovery from natural disasters.

Since first undertaking to work in unison to establish economic and cultural ties, Houston and Chiba have implemented numerous initiatives promoting collaboration at the grassroots level. From joint research studies between the University of Houston and Chiba University to exhibition games between little league teams – the two cities have exchanged many delegations of visitors of every age group.  The Houston-Chiba Sister City Youth Ambassador Program for middle school students has been taking place most every summer since 1982.

“Japan-America Society of Houston takes pride in assisting the City of Houston in administering the Houston-Chiba sister city relationship and championing people-to-people exchange,” said Laird Doran, President of the Japan-America Society of Houston. “The partnership between Houston-Chiba brings together both municipal and volunteer community resources, and offers a mechanism of individuals and organizations, youths and adults, to be involved in the rewarding field of international relations.  The relationship is full of promise, and we look forward to supporting further cooperation between the two cities.

"The City of Houston values this relationship. We are here to honor all of our ties and successes - including the nationally recognized youth ambassadors program," said Mayor Turner. "We will continue learning from each other, from economic interests, business opportunities, industries, and what more we can explore to ensure our cities' continued growth and development."

About Japan-America Society of Houston
Japan America Society of Houston (JASH) is the leading organization that connects Houston’s diverse community, local businesses, and individuals to advance the mutual interest of American and Japanese peoples. Our programs in language and education, arts and culture, and business initiatives and networking provide opportunities for collaboration and important people-to-people exchange. Visit jas-hou.org for more information, or follow JASH on Facebook (JapanAmericaHouston), Instagram (@JapanAmericaHouston) and Twitter (@JASHouston).