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Japanese official dies on Hawaii sister-city trip

October 30, 2014

HONOLULU (AP) — A Japanese deputy mayor who worked to establish a sister-cities relationship with Honolulu died a day after an agreement was signed with the Hawaii city.

Takehiko Kimura, 63, deputy mayor of Chigasaki, died Saturday after he was pulled from the water off Waikiki, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser (http://bit.ly/1tDgMVx) reported.

He was found unresponsive in the ocean water about 8 a.m. He was taken to Straub Clinic & Hospital, where he died.

An autopsy by the Honolulu Medical Examiner’s Office did not immediately determine a cause of death.

Kimura had made three or four trips to Honolulu and had met with City Council Chairman Ernie Martin each time, Martin said.

“It was tragic for us to learn of his passing the day after he was finally able to fulfill not just the city’s dream, but his personal dream to have this relationship officially designated,” Martin said.

Chigasaki, with a population of about 240,000, is on the coast of Sagami Bay and is considered Japan’s surfing capital, Martin said. It hosts the World Invitational Hula Festival. Its city assembly, known as the “Aloha Assembly,” wears aloha shirts at summer meetings.

Chigasaki has an Aloha Market. Its Shonan Festival has the motto, “Savor Hawaiian atmosphere in Chigasaki.”

About a dozen Chigasaki representatives attended the signing ceremony Friday. Kimura planned to surf at Waikiki during the day and fly home Saturday night.

Koichi Maruyama, Japanese deputy consul-general, said the consulate is providing assistance to Kimura’s family.

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