The mayor has invited Battle Creek places of worship to join two simultaneous bell-ringing moments this week, to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan. Sister Cities International organized this effort, promoting peace through mutual respect, understanding, and cooperation.
Neighbors may hear bells at 7:15 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 5, to coincide with the time in Japan that the first bomb fell in Hiroshima. You may hear bells at 10:02 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 8, to coincide with the time in Japan that the bomb fell in Nagasaki.
Next year, our city will celebrate a 40-year sister city relationship with Takasaki, Japan, the home to Japan’s Kellogg Company factory. Since the program began in 1981, hundreds of middle and high school students have participated in enriching exchange programs.
Even earlier, Battle Creek began developing a business relationship with Japan. A local delegation traveled to Japan in 1974 to meet companies interested in establishing operations here. The following year, TSK of America – now known as Hi-Lex – became the first Japanese company to establish an office here. Today, 19 Japanese companies have facilities in Battle Creek, employing more than 7,000 people. More than 400 Japanese expats live in Battle Creek.
Last October, several Battle Creek leaders traveled to Japan to participate in a business networking program organized by the Japan Foundation. The program hosts leaders from U.S. regions with a high Japanese corporate/residential presence, to educate local leaders about Japan, and facilitate networking.
Individuals also are welcome to participate in the commemorations this week. Have you participated in an exchange with Japan, or otherwise have a connection? Please share!