Tony Reed
Del Norte Triplicate

City and county legislators and community members will come together Monday to welcome a delegation of honored dignitaries from Rikuzentakata, Japan at the Cultural Center.

According to city reports, the joint meeting of the Del Norte County Board of Supervisors and Crescent City Council will begin with greetings from Amya Miller, principal consultant for the City of Rikuzentakata, and Tomochika Uyama, consul general of Japan.

At its regular meeting April 10, supervisors approved the signing of a Sister City Agreement.

The agreement acknowledges the vast similarities between the two cities in topography, climate, population, remoteness and propensity for tsunamis.

Rikuzentaka was nearly destroyed by the 2011 Tohoku quake and subsequent tsunami which reached across the Pacific Ocean and destroyed Crescent City’s harbor the next day,

“In consideration of a mutual desire of our communities to strengthen ties of friendship and develop collaborative efforts in the areas of business, culture, emergency planning, and disaster recovery, and with the hope of contributing toward peace and prosperity in the world,” the agreement reads. “We formally establish a Sister City relationship for the purpose of bringing those hopes to fruition.”

The ceremonious agreement will be signed by Crescent City Mayor Blake Inscore, Rikuzentakata Mayor Futoshi Toba, Del Norte County Supervisor Chair Chris Howard and Rikuzentakata City Council Chairman Akihito Ito.

At the April 10 supervisors meeting, Supervisor Lori Cowan said about 20 delegates will be coming into Crescent City Sunday Night on Contour Airlines, and will spend a few days here.

Cowan invited the community out to the Cultural Center to see the ceremony.

“They’ll be touring the area on Monday and Tuesday,” she said. “Please come out Monday to the Cultural Center at 6 p.m., to meet them and let them know that they are welcomed here. They have been very gracious to us and the different people who have gone over to Rikuzentakata.”

A group of delegates from Crescent City made the trip to Japan in February. Following the trip, Crescent City Mayor Blake Inscore gave several public presentations on the local importance of tsunami preparedness and education.

County Chief Administrative Officer Jay Sarina said Friday the delegates will be given a demonstrative tour of the county’s Emergency Operations Center at the Washington Street firehouse during their stay.

How it began

The 2011 tsunami also serendipitously delivered a small boat, from Takata High School to Crescent City two years after the tsunami. Del Norte High School students cleaned up and returned the boat, kicking off an exchange between cities and later, Sister City pacts between the cities and their school districts.

At the April 10 meeting, county board Chair Chris Howard noted a previous presentation to the board from Del Norte High School’s Japan Club.

“The kids in our community really saw well beyond where I thought we would go with this, which is solidifying the Sister City relationship with this agreement, (which) means a lot more than just a back and forth handshake across the ocean,” Howard said. “It means we can learn from a community that is very similar to ours in preparation for a natural disaster.”

Supervisor Bob Berkowitz echoed the sentiment of learning and tsunami awareness and readiness in Del Norte County.

The Cultural Center is at 1001 Front St., Crescent City.