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Tokyo Olympics are closer to home than it seems

The city of Higashiomi, Japan in the Shiga Prefecture is just 250 miles from Tokyo, and for over four decades, it’s been Marquette’s Sister City.
Published: Jul. 23, 2021 at 11:42 AM EDT
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MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) - For Marquette, this year’s Tokyo Olympic games are closer to home than it may seem.

The city of Higashiomi, Japan in the Shiga Prefecture is just 250 miles from Tokyo, and for over four decades, it’s been Marquette’s Sister City.

”That’s what we try to do is exchange our culture style of living, how we do things in education, in work fields, business. It’s just getting to know each other. So, it’s an exchange of friendship and learning about each other’s country,” said Marquette Area Sister Cities Partnership Vice Chair Paulette Lindberg.

Lindberg has been part of the partnership for over 40 years and has visited Japan several times since 1981.

She said this year’s games are an opportunity for everyone to learn more about life and culture in Japan and is hoping more people will become interested in visiting the country.

”A very important part of our dedication is to help to educate the younger people. They can travel to Japan as part of a delegation for example. We could arrange for them to visit people in our city. It’s safe, it’s friendly, and your host families will continue to be your friends forever.”

But with an increase in COVID-19 cases throughout the country’s capital amid Olympic visitors, Lindberg is worried about Japanese friends and family.

”The question is, should they be held or not? Our families and friends in Higashiomi of course are not going near Tokyo. They are just beginning to get vaccinated. Some of them have waited months for their appointment,” she said.

Lindberg said as she’s watching this year’s games, she’ll be wishing health and safety for all, and is looking forward to hosting guests from Higashiomi next summer.

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