A longtime friend of Moses Lake and the sister city program was remembered in a farewell ceremony recently.
Yukio Seino, 88, was involved in the sister city program between the cities of Yonezawa and Moses Lake from its beginning in 1982, said Doug Sly, a member of the Moses Lake Sister City Committee, on Thursday. Seino died from congestive heart failure in Yonezawa earlier this year.
Seino, president of the Yonezawa Shimbun (newspaper) company, was instrumental in starting the sister city program, Sly said. He made more than 30 trips to Moses Lake, frequently accompanying students involved in the exchange program as well as city officials from Yonezawa. He traveled to the United States with the Japanese students every year from 1982 to 2011, Sly said.
The sister cities exchanged gifts, and Seino gave a number of things to the city on his own, ranging from wood carving tools to sumo wrestling symbols. The gifts are on display at the Moses Lake City Hall.
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He gave two statues to the city, one on display at city hall and the other on Yonezawa Boulevard, and the Japanese lanterns in the Japanese Peace Garden.
He was an honorary citizen of Moses Lake and received a key to the city.
“His biggest gift to Moses Lake citizens was providing a life-changing experience for more than 500 students and chaperones who participated in sister city exchange activities in the last 30 years,” Sly said.
Seino was active in regional development and education in the Yamagata Prefecture. He was decorated by the Emperor of Japan with the Spring Order of the Rising Sun in May 2007.
Longtime sister city participants Paul and Ginny Hirai, of Moses Lake, represented the city and the sister city program at the remembrance ceremony.