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ANAPOLIS, Md. - Maryland Governor Larry Hogan was in Japan Friday to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the state's Sister State partnership with the Kanagawa Prefecture of Japan, according to Hogan's Office.

The Office says that the dinner, which took place in the the prefecture's capital city of Yokohama with Prefecture Governor Yuji Kuroiwa, was part of Governor Hogan's economic development mission to Asia.

“Maryland and Japan share many connections that are perhaps most apparent through our sister state-prefecture relationship with Kanagawa, which continues to be one of our oldest and most important sister state relationships in the world,” said Governor Hogan. “We are so pleased to have the chance to finally celebrate the 40th anniversary milestone of this thriving partnership.”

The Office says that the Sister State relationship, which was established in 1981, was initially inspired by the two regions' common geographic features: both have mountains, beaches, a large bay, and are located in close proximity to their respective nation’s capital. The Office says that since the partnership was established, they have built strong ties through business cooperation and academic exchange. 

Over the past four decades, the Office says projects supported by both Maryland and Kanagawa have ranged from lacrosse exchanges to arts and culture programming, women’s issues, a clean energy research mission, and student visits. 

The office says that Governor Kuroiwa came to Annapolis in 2019 to renew and expand a memorandum of understanding between Maryland and Kanagawa. The agreement highlighted the regions’ shared commitment to advancing the life sciences and health care, and sought to increase collaboration in key sectors including cybersecurity and robotics.

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