Maui News

Maui Mayor Hopes to Build Asia Relations at APEC

November 7, 2011, 3:46 PM HST
* Updated November 7, 3:58 PM
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By Wendy Osher

Mayor Arakawa leading the Hawai`i delegation during the Taikai Parade in Okinawa. Photo courtesy County of Maui.

Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa stressed the importance today of establishing good relationships with counterparts in Asia.

The comments come as the Asian Pacific Economic Cooperation conference gets underway on Oahu this week.

Mayor Arakawa, who just completed a 10-day trip to Okinawa in October, joined Governor Neil Abercrombie, Maui Council member Elle Cochran and dozens of other Hawaii residents from October 12-16 for the 5th Uchinanchu (Okinawan) Festival.

Arakawa celebrated his own Okinawan heritage at the festival, which included meetings, friendship and shared heritage.

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“Like us they are a multi-island community,” said Mayor Arakawa.

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“And like us,” he said, “they have to think out of the box when it comes to fuel, food and overall sustainability.”

Mayor Arakawa paid for his wife’s trip to Okinawa; while Maui County paid for the mayor’s travel and lodging.

During his stay Mayor Arakawa discovered that Okinawa had invested in a number of projects which could also be of interest here in Maui County, including:

  • A working bio-ethanol plant which converts sugar cane into ethanol fuel, as well as other by-products such as alcohol and beauty items;
  • An underground dam system which helps contain groundwater and allows it to be pumped up for use;
  • The use of coral chunks in making their roads, creating a stronger surface which lasts longer and does not need to be repaired as often; and
  • Agricultural cultivation techniques which produce mangoes the size of melons and other quality produce.
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The mayor also honored Miyako Island, which has been in a sister city relationship with Maui County since the 1960s.

Mayor Arakawa said the county plans to continue to establish these relationships at the APEC Conference, where the county is hosting a booth with information.

*** Supporting information courtesy, County of Maui.

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