Sister Cities is a concept that started in USA, just after World War Two, and is designed to develop friendships between people of different nations and to reduce the likeliness of polarisation and conflict among nations. President Eisenhower's People to People program, which began in America in 1956, gave a huge boost to the concept of twinned cities. Some linkages occurred before that, but the Civic Committee of People to People (one of 40 People to People committees) which promoted town affiliations, eventually became Sister Cities International in 1974.
The genesis of the Frankston Susono Friendship Association (FSFA) began in late 1980 when a Yazaki Vice President, Ken Muratta, visiting that organisation's Seaford works sought a meeting with the Frankston Chief Executive Adrian Butler and the Mayor, Councillor Noel Ferguson. It was at this meeting that the prospect of forming a sister city was first formally mooted.
Sir Phillip Lynch, the local Federal Member for Flinders and Minister for Trade in the Fraser Government had raised the matter at a meeting with the international Yazaki people on a visit to Japan following his opening of the Yazaki Australia factory in Seaford in March 1980.
A favourable response to discussions on behalf of Frankston was indicated and arrangements were made for a party of citizens from Susono, under Dr Hara, representing that city's Mayor Mr Ichikawa, to visit Frankston in February 1981 for further talks at which exchanges of ideas took place.
Frankston Council subsequently agreed to send a party of locals to Susono in May 1981 with the Council bearing the cost of Chief Executive, Adrian Butler, to accompany the group which included the Mayor, Noel Ferguson and five other councillors all of whom went at their own cost (the party was 32 in total) including interested citizens.
Ultimately through a committee, Frankston Susono Friendship Association (FSFA) was formed with the total support of the Frankston Council and likewise with the full support of the Mayor and Council of Susono.
It was arranged that a formal agreement would be prepared and Susono's Mayor joined a party that visited Frankston in January 1982. Both mayors signed the agreement at a large celebration at the Frankston Civic Centre and then ratified this agreement on a visit to Susono in April 1982.