This is a trip of trust

BUSINESS in Japan relies heavily on personal relationships and trust, says Peter Nichols, and that is one reason why Coffs Harbour City Council's delegation to sister city Sasebo from July 1 to July 10 is important.

Mr Nichols, the President of Coffs Harbour's Australia Japan-Society, will accompany Coffs Harbour Mayor Cr Keith Rhoades and general manager Stephen Sawtell to Sasebo next month as a facilitator and interpreter.

Mr Nichols speaks fluent Japanese and has visited Sasebo three times previously.

Sasebo and Coffs Harbour have been sister cities for more than 20 years, but Coffs Harbour Council has not sent a delegation to Japan since 2002.

Sasebo recently elected a new mayor and Cr Keith Rhoades has never visited Sasebo.

Cr Rhoades and Mr Sawtell will represent Coffs Harbour at the Conference of Japan Australia Societies as part of a visit designed to explore new strategies for trade, economic, environmental, educational, cultural and social exchanges.

Among these will be exchanges on waste management technology and establishing contacts and networks for exporters.

The 2008 Federation of Australia-Japan Societies Conference will be held in Coffs Harbour.

Coffs Harbour City Council will meet the costs for airfares between Australia and Japan, conference registration, allowances and official gifts for the delegation. The total estimated cost of the trip to council is $16,500.

Members of Coffs Harbour's Australia-Japan Society attending the Hamanako conference are doing so at their own cost.

The Coffs Harbour delegation has also been invited to hold talks with Oz Trade, officials from Sasebo fish markets, Sasebo and Tokyo council representatives to explore exchange opportunities.

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