Mayor Gennadiy Trukhanov of the city of Odesa, Ukraine and Mayor Takeharu Yamanaka of the city of Yokohama, Japan are mayors of sister cities which have fostered friendship since 1965. On Friday, May 13, 2022, Mayor Trukhanov and Mayor Yamanaka met via video conference.
Alongside Mayor Yamanaka, Yokohama refugee coordinator Natalia, and two Ukrainian brothers evacuating to Yokohama attended the Yokohama side of the video conference. The older brother Dimer, 15, was introduced as a champion of Ukrainian national team of Sambo, a type of martial art. During the discussion, Mayor Trukhanov encouraged Dimer to represent the strength of Ukraine and its people during his time in Japan.
During the course of the meeting, which lasted around half an hour, Yamanaka offered more support to Odesa, and Trukhanov expressed his deepest gratitude. Trukhanov noted a present concern about a shortage of clean water if water pumping stations were to be bombed. Yamanaka responded he would immediately look into sending water purifier and pumps. They also exchanged views on seeking the cooperation of their mutual sister city, Constanța, Romania, in terms of transportation.
In order to register Odesa as a World Heritage Site, Trukhanov sought the support of Yokohama, and Yamanaka promised to approach UNESCO in consultation with the Japanese government. Trukhanov noted that Odesa’s World Heritage registration would be of great help to protect the city’s cultural heritage from war and to attract the attention of the world.
At the end of the conversation, Yamanaka said “Good luck, Ukraine!” in Ukrainian and added “We are really praying for your safety!”. Trukhanov replied by placing his right hand over his heart.