JAPAN- Our oldest and most active relationship is with Hitachi. Since 1983 over 250 Birmingham youngsters have traveled to Hitachi. We have an agreement whereby 2 Birmingham college graduates are employed by the Hitachi Board of Education for years service, and over 20 young people have participated in this program. Birmingham sent Hitachi a 10 foot replica of Vulcan which is displayed in the park overlooking the city.

Birmingham received large stone lanterns which greet visitors to the Botanical Garden. Hitachi has sent several delegations of city and economic development officials to Birmingham to study how we changed to a diverse economy. Adult exchanges have included museum groups, environmental groups, women’s rights groups and many other people of varied backgrounds. Positive media attention for this relationship has been common in Japan. For example several years ago when the Japanese Prime Minister made statements disparaging America’s multi-ethnic nature a Japanese film crew from their version of “60 Minutes” was in town for another story and also coincidentally there was a delegation of Japanese youth visiting Birmingham with home stays with local children’s families. The interviews of the Japanese and Birmingham children talking about how their experience had helped them understand each other was featured prominently on Japanese media in stories about the PM’s gaffe. A very positive rebuttal of a politician’s gaffe.  Student and business exchanges highlight this relationship!

We also on July 3, 2017 we formalized a Sister City relationship with Maebashi; which had been our long time Friendship City. They also employ our students, they have featured Birmingham poet Samuel Ullman in their city poetry museum and are sponsoring a major art show in Birmingham in 2005.  Mark Jackson is Honorary Consul General from Japan to the Alabama.

For more information about Hitachi, go to

For more information about Maebashi, go to

Japan Photo Gallery

Japan News

We will host groups form Hitachi

We will host groups of high and middle school students form Hitachi this summer.  We also in June will be sending a group of college students to Hitachi for 3 weeks. In March of 2014 we will host a group of insurance executives from Hitachi who will meet with...

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