Japan sister city Sasebo safe

PATRICIA Degens says the people of Japan are a hardy bunch who will recover from the earthquake and tsunami disaster.

And she should know – Mrs Degens is a Coffs Harbour resident who has visited our sister city Sasebo no less than eight times.

As the honorary secretary of the Australia-Japan Society of Coffs Harbour, she has sent a letter of sympathy to Kayuka Kaneko, the president of the Japan-Australia Society of Sasebo.

“We had such a lovely letter of sympathy from him to the people of Australia when the cyclone hit Queensland,” Mrs Degens said.

“The people of Sasebo would be devastated by what has happened, but the Japanese people are very resilient and I’m sure they will get through this terrible disaster.”

Mrs Degens said , Sasebo was far away from the chaotic scenes engulfing northern parts of the nation.

“Sasebo is on the island of Kyushu on the southern tip of the mainland and is about 1400km from Tokyo,” she said.

“Kyushu is the same size as Tasmania but has the population of Australia, some 20 million people.”

Mrs Degens said the National Federation of Australia-Japan Societies had now established a fundraising project to help the people of Japan in their time of need.

For more information, visit www.austjapanfed.org.au.

Coffs Harbour and Sasebo signed a sister city affiliation in 1988 but have enjoyed a close relationship since 1953 through student exchanges with the Seiwa Girls College in Sasebo.

In 1983, the Japan-Australia Society of Sasebo was established while the Australia-Japan Society of Coffs Harbour Inc was set up in 1990.

The local Australia-Japan Society was formed to assist the growing links between Japan and Coffs Harbour at a community level.

It aims to support the council with its sister city relationship and help make the city a friendly place for Japanese to visit.

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