SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


20th Anniversary for Ketchikan-Kanayama!
By Dan Patton


March 13, 2007
Tuesday AM

Konnichiwa Ketchikan! It's that marvelous time of year again when our little town becomes a showcase for multinational cross-cultural understanding and exchange. On Thursday evening twenty wide-eyed and curious (though slightly nervous) Kanayama Jr. High students will step off the plane and enter our world for a short two weeks, in the process developing immensely as citizens of the world and allowing us a unique glimpse into what it means to be Japanese. Ketchikan is truly blessed to have such a program in place! For 20 years now groups of middle school students (and teachers/chaperones) have been making the annual pilgrimage across the vast Pacific and forming lifelong friendships/partnerships with our neighbors to the East. Can you believe over 300 of Ketchikan's best and brightest have become intimately aware of life in Japan? This is big deal! It is made even more significant by the recent news that, once again, Japan was Alaska's biggest trading parter. Let the numers do the talking:

$ 1,189,666,446 2004 Trade with Japan (that's billion with a capital B!). That reprresents a whopping 12% year to year increase.

$ 416,639,623 2004 Trade with South Korea (our second largest foreign trade partner)

The very first students to go on the echange are turning thirty two this year. What this means is that the future leaders of Ketchikan are in a position to take advantage of their experiences to strengthen our ties with Japan. Can you see non-stop flights from Tokyo to Ketchikan? I see plane loads of Japanese tourists visiting and spending time (several days) in Ketchikan for the wealth of nature and fish (both extremely high on the Japanese value system). Why not? Fairbanks does it. How about a 200 million strong market for Alaska Rainforest water? Did you see the recent Ketchkan Daily News article about Hawaiin pure water exports? This is a growth industry with a capital G, especially with a state of the art port facility coming online in Prince Rupert.

Twenty years ago some incredibly forward thinking indivuals on both sides of the exchange began something that has the potential to revolutionize our mutual economies. Let's do all we can to vitalize and grow this amazing program!

Dan Patton
Ketchikan, AK

Received March 12, 2007 - Published March 13, 2007

About: "2004-2005 Kanayama Exchange English Teacher"



Note: Comments published on Viewpoints are the opinions of the writer
and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Sitnews.


Send A Letter -------Read Letters

E-mail the Editor at

Stories In The News
Ketchikan, Alaska