A garden paying tribute to Frankston’s enduring friendship with its Japanese sister city has opened in the city centre.
Frankston City Mayor Michael O’Reilly officially opened The Susono Friendship (Tribute) Garden on Tuesday 13 August to celebrate the relationship.
A plaque was also unveiled at the event to recognise the 44 years Yazaki (Australian Arrow) contributed to the fabric of Frankston.
The Japanese style garden has been created next to Frankston Private Hospital adjacent to Susono Way and will include stunning cherry blossoms - the same as those which brighten the sister city Susono each spring.
At the ceremony, Mayor O’Reilly acknowledged Yazaki Australia (Australian Arrow) which were instrumental in the sister city relationship between Frankston and Susono in February 1982.
“Yazaki were a global leader in the car industry and the reason Susono became our sister city is because it is the world headquarters of Yazaki and Frankston was the location of Yazaki’s Oceania operations which they named Australian Arrow,” the Mayor said.
“Yazaki was first in Hartnett Drive, Seaford in 1973 and during the 1980’s had 1,500 employees, mostly locals. There are many families in Frankston who have a connection with Yazaki through a family member being employed there.
Although the Yazaki closed in 2017 when the Australian Car industry ceased, the active relationship between our two cities continues to grow thanks to the Frankston Susono Friendship Association, led by the dedicated Peter Patterson, and the Susono Overseas Friendship Association working to maintain the connection.
“Both groups are community volunteers who for 37 years have helped each city celebrate each other’s culture, promote travel - including the former Mayor’s visit to Susono last year - and develop youth culture exchange programs,” the Mayor said.
“As well as providing decades of employment and community Yazaki has also made a major donation to Frankston Hospital maternity ward and this plaque and garden will ensure Yazaki lives on in Frankston’s heart.
“We are all looking forward to watching it flourish in spring and to see all the transformations it takes throughout the different seasons.”
Susono is on the Pacific coast of Honshu Island, 115 kilometres south-west of Tokyo, at the foot of Mount Fuji.