VLADIVOSTOK, July 20 (Itar-Tass) — Vladivostok finished celebrating the 20th anniversary of the establishment of twin-city relations with the Japanese city of Niigata.
Sports and cultural events dedicated to the anniversary were held for three days at the Russian Children’s Centre “Ocean,” in the Lazurnaya Bay and in Vladivostok. The official delegation of Niigata went home on Tuesday, but children’s football team of this city stayed in Vladivostok. Until July 21 it will take part in joint training with Russian counterparts and play two matches with teams from Nakhodka and Khabarovsk.
The festive opening of Niigata Days was held in Vladivostok on July 16. Vladivostok mayor Igor Pushkarev said that the establishment of twin-city relations between the two cities “marked the beginning of an entirely new phase of Vladivostok development that has today turned into official recognition of the Primorsky Territory’s capital as a centre for international cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region.”
Head of the Japanese delegation – mayor of Niigata Akira Shinoda expressed admiration over the pace of preparation of Vladivostok for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum’s summit to be held in Vladivostok in 2012 and said that the further development of twin-city relations has major prospects.
The main festivities within the Niigata Days were held on July 17 on the Lazurnaya Bay beach. Hundreds of spectators saw the flight of a giant (5 by 7 metres in size and weighing about 30 kg) kite with greetings on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the twin-city relations. Master classes in drawing, an exhibition of works by graduates of the college of Japanese traditional fine art manga and anime genres of Niigata, an encounter with King Neptune and his court ceremony, a competition of sailor’s striped vests, fun contests, dancing on the sand, a show of costumes of characters of Japanese comics and movies were also held on the seashore.
The Japanese Centre of Vladivostok on July 18 held a presentation of the tourism potential of Niigata and a seminar for the tourism and hospitality business in Vladivostok, after which a major tour of the city was organised for the guests from Niigata.
A total of 50 people visited Vladivostok with the Japanese twin-city delegation. After the visit to Vladivostok by Niigata residents, the leaders of the two cities declared the further expansion of friendship and cooperation within the framework of their twin-city relations.
Niigata is the capital and the most populous city of Niigata Prefecture, Japan. It lies on the northwest coast of Honshu, the largest island of Japan, and faces the Sea of Japan and Sado Island. With a long history as a port town, Niigata became a free port following the Meiji Restoration. Niigata’s city government was established in 1889. Mergers with nearby municipalities in 2005 allowed the city’s population to jump to 810,000. The annexation of the surrounding area has also given the city the greatest rice paddy field acreage in Japan. On April 1, 2007, it became the first government-designated city on the Japan Sea coast of Honshu.
Big Swan Stadium in Niigata City hosted three games during the 2002 FIFA World Cup. The 2004 Chuetsu earthquake did not cause any significant damage in Niigata City itself, allowing the city to work as a relief base.
The size and the population of Niigata city increased over the four-year period between 2001 and 2005, due to a series of municipal mergers. On April 1, 2007, Niigata City became first city on the west coast of Honshu to become a government-designated city. In July 2007, the Chuetsu offshore earthquake, measuring 6.9 on Richter scale, rocked Niigata Prefecture. Though the earthquake was felt in the city, there was little damage, which allowed Niigata City to provide aid to the devastated areas. In May 2008, the city hosted the 2008 G8 Labour Ministers Meeting. On March 12, 2011, several hours after the massive 9.0 Tohoku earthquake struck off the east coast of Honshu, Niigata and Nagano Prefectures experienced an estimated magnitude 6.6 earthquake.
Vladivostok is Russia’s largest port city on the Pacific Ocean and the administrative centre of the Primorsky Territory. It is situated at the head of the Zolotoi Rog (Golden Horn) Bay, not far from Russia’s border with China and North Korea. It is the homeport of the Russian Pacific Fleet. The population of the city, according to the preliminary results of the 2010 Census, is 592,100, down from 594,701 recorded in the 2002 Census.
In 2012, Vladivostok will host the 24th Summit of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum. In preparation for the event, the infrastructure of the city is being renovated and improved. Two giant cable-stayed bridges are currently under construction in Vladivostok, namely the Zolotoi Rog bridge over the Zolotoi Rog Bay in the centre of the city, and the Russky Island Bridge from the mainland to Russky Island, where the summit will take place. The latter bridge will become the longest cable-stayed bridge in the world upon completion. The city’s main industries are shipping, commercial fishing, and the naval base. Fishing accounts for almost four-fifths of Vladivostok’s commercial production. Other food production totals 11 percent.