Sister city relationship with Akkeshi

A sister city relationship between the City of Clarence and the City of Akkeshi in Japan was formalised on 9 February 1982.

Student exchange and official visits to Clarence and Akkeshi have regularly occurred in both cities as a basis of cultural and educational exchange and understanding.

The sister city relationship between Clarence and Akkeshi is based on historical and geographical grounds.

Why a sister city relationship?

Historically the association is linked to the whaling ship Lady Rowena ex Clarence which was put ashore at Kiritappu for supplies in 1831. However, if this is not accepted in the records for “first” or “earliest”, Clarence can claim that on 16 April 1850 a whaling ship, the Eamont, registered in Hobart, was wrecked two kilometres off Mabiro Beach, Akkeshi. The thirty-two man crew was rescued by the people of Akkeshi and cared for until they could be repatriated back to Australia. This is believed to be one of the earliest Australia-Japan links.

Geographically Akkeshi and Clarence have many similarities. Both are located on the 43rd parallel and both have a close affinity with surrounding waterways.

Akkeshi is located on the northern island of Japan while Clarence is located in the southernmost state of Australia and both have close associations with ships, fishing and aquaculture.

The Japanese writer Masako Endo, who researched early links between Australia and Japan, was asked by the City of Akkeshi to explore possible twin sister links when she visited Tasmanian in 1979.

The relationship was formalised with the signing of a sister-city agreement at a special meeting of the Clarence City Council attended by the Mayor of Akkeshi on 9 February 1982.

About Akkeshi

Akkeshi is a town on the south east coast of Hokkaido, Japan’s most northern island.

The city occupies some 735.82 km2 and has an estimated population of 9,700.

The life and history of the town is closely linked to the sea and to the surrounding farming areas.

More about the City of Akkeshi can be found at

History of the sister city relationship

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There have been many regular exchanges and visits since the sister-city agreement was made in 1982. These include:

  • March 2018 – Education exchange visit by 10 students and 3 members of the Akkeshi Board of Education to Rose Bay High School.
  • April 2016 – Educational exchange visit by Rose Bay High School students to Akkeshi supported by the Clarence City Council Akkeshi scholarship.
  • March 2016 – Educational exchange by 13 students and 3 staff from Akkeshi to Rose Bay High School.
  • 2014 – Visit by the Mayor of Akkeshi, Mr Yasushi Wakasa to Clarence to celebrate 30th anniversary.
  • 2013 – A delegation of 5 aldermen led by the Mayor travelled to Akkeshi.
  • 2012 – Clarence and Akkeshi celebrated the 30th anniversary of the sister city agreement. Due to the tsunami in 2011, celebrations were delayed to 2014.
  • 2010 – A Council delegation visited Akkeshi
  • 2008 – A delegation of 20 students and three staff from Rose Bay High School visited Akkeshi supported by a Clarence City Council Akkeshi scholarship
  • 2006 – The ‘Australia-Japan Year of Exchange’ coincided with a photographic exchange between Akkeshi and Clarence and an exhibition held in the Schoolhouse Gallery at Rosny Farm.
  • March 2006 – Members of the Iris Club of Akkeshi accompanied a group of junior high school students to visit Clarence. The students were hosted by families of students of MacKillop College.
  • March 2004 – A delegation comprising three members of the Iris Club of Akkeshi, a school teacher and eight children visited Clarence for a week-long stay that included attendance at local schools.
  • September 2003 – A council delegation visited Akkeshi to mark the 21st anniversary of the sister city agreement.
  • 2002 – 20th Anniversary of the sister city agreement between Akkeshi and Clarence. 10th occasion on which members of the Iris Club of Akkeshi, accompanied by schoolchildren from Akkeshi, have visited Clarence. The occasion was marked by the visit to Clarence by the Mayor of Akkeshi, Yasushi Wakasa, accompanied by Mrs Junko Wakasa, Mr Jasuji Matsuoka – Chairman of the town council, Mrs Humiko Matsuoka, Mr Hitoshi Kozawa – Member of town council, Mrs Kei Kozawa, Mr Shoji Kuroda – Town office planning and financial section chief, Mr Tohrum Ishizuki – Town office planning and financial Sub-section chief.

Sponsorship of Clarence school visits to Akkeshi

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Clarence City Council offers schools in Clarence the opportunity to apply for sponsorship to travel to Clarence’s sister city of Akkeshi.

The sponsorship provides a basis for continued cultural exchange between the Clarence and Akkeshi school communities and encourages the development of sister schools.

To find out more about Council’s sponsorship program for Clarence schools to visit Akkeshi, click on the link below.

Sponsorship of Clarence School Visits to Akkeshi – Policy and Framework