2019 was the first year of operations for Yokohama City’s NYC-located “Representative Office to the Americas,” and during that year the office’s activities were mainly focused on developing connections and implementing projects in New York. Coming into its second year, the office is beginning to gear up for expanding its activities throughout the U.S. As its first step in 2020, office representatives visited Washington D.C. to promote Yokohama City and develop and strengthen partnerships with multiple institutions on the occasion of the annual meeting of the United States Conference of Mayors (USCM).
The United States Conference of Mayors hosts biannual conferences every summer and winter at which around 300 US mayors gather to discuss their prioritized agendas over the three days of each convening. On the final day of this year’s winter conference, the Japanese Ambassador to the United States hosted a reception for the participants of the USCM. Yokohama City, for the first time, exhibited a booth at the reception as part of its grass roots promotion to raise participants’ awareness of Yokohama and its office in New York.
Many thinktanks, international organizations, and governmental institutions are based in Washington D.C., and Yokohama City has been developing partnerships with some of these organizations. The Brookings Institution, an important partner for Yokohama, has been continuing constructive discussion with the city to contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at the local level worldwide. The World Bank Group has been another partner of Yokohama, helping promote the Asia Smart City Conference hosted by Yokohama City every year to address urbanization problems in Asia.
During their stay in D.C., representatives from the NY Office not only met with and strengthened ties with existing partners, but connected with potential future partners with whom it is expected Yokohama city can build new collaborative relations. The Yokohama City’s New York office will be continuing to explore further opportunities to collaborate with both existing and potential partners in various fields such as business, tourism, international conferences, inter-university relations, and SDGs through expanding its network in the United States.