Online exchange of ideas with Fairbanks Mayor Jim Matherly
On July 12, Mr. Aniya and Mr. Weinert exchanged views online with the Mayor of the City of Fairbanks, Mr. Jim Matherly.
Mr. Aniya mentioned that the main work of the Consular Office of Japan in Anchorage is consular affairs work, and as such, Consul Aniya said 127 persons out of 750 Japanese living in Alaska are residents of Fairbanks. Another major purpose is to promote friendly relations, and, under the Japan-Alaska Sister Cities Forum, the Consular Office is planning and implementing events that will contribute to this purpose. Mr. Aniya stated that the Office plans to hold a "Photo + Essay Contest," and a "Japan-Alaska Arctic Symposium" this year. Mr. Weinert stated that the Consular Office is also promoting the JET Program, and that talented people from Fairbanks participate in the Program.
Mayor Matherly mentioned that Fairbanks is a city inhabited by immigrants from all over the world, and in addition to Japanese, people from Indonesia, Italy, Yugoslavia, etc. are well settled in Fairbanks. Due to Fairbank’s history as a gold rush town, the presence of local U.S. military bases, and the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF), Fairbanks is an international city, with a fierce spirit of independence. Mayor Matherly said the City of Fairbanks has a "diversity council", and at its meetings they discuss how to meet the needs of Fairbanks’ diverse communities and planning local events. Mayor Matherly further stated that many people visit Fairbanks for aurora observation and tourism purposes, and since Fairbanks has many researchers and people involved in the Arctic, therefore, he thinks there are many suitable participants from Fairbanks for a “Japan-Alaska Arctic Symposium.”