Long Beach-Yokkaichi Sister City Association

Environmental Summit Program

In 2007 former Yokkaichi Mayor Tetsuo Inoue proposed that a delegation of Long Beach students travel to Yokkaichi to discuss environmental problems and solutions with students from Japan and China in cooperation with the Port of Long Beach and other environmental groups. 

Each summer four students and a chaperone from Long Beach take part in this annual environmental summit.

Expenses, including round-trip airfare, are the responsibility of the students and chaperone.  All applicants must have a current passport and have no visible tattoos.

Please contact Bonnie Stoeppelman, Environmental Chair with questions at Yokkaichi@SharpHOA.com or Bonnie@SharpHOA.com or 310-514-1377.

2017 Environmental Summit Students

2016 Summit Students

2016 Environmental Summit Team (l-r):
Courtney Yeh,
Micaela Gonzales, Grace Armendariz, and Fatima Nunez.

Below are daily emails from chaperone, Taylor Peck, reporting on the daily activities of the 2016 Environmental Summit team.  Great reading!

August 1, 2016
After a long day of travel and an hour and a half flight delay from Tokyo Narita to Nagoya, we met a nice ICETT representative and a volunteer interpreter at the airport. A shuttle bus took us to the ICETT building in the beautiful, green mountains of Yokkaichi, where we were given room keys to our individual dorm rooms. Since we were all so exhausted from a day of travel, we went straight to bed.

2016 Summit ICETT

View of ICETT from dorm rooms.

2016 Yokkaichi Port View

View from the Yokkaichi Port Building.

August 2, 2016
Following breakfast, we met in a classroom where we were introduced to the other summit participants/students from China and Japan, our interpreters, and summit instructors. Today's lesson consisted of introducing ourselves and preparation for meeting the mayor of Yokkaichi. After lunch at the summit, we boarded a bus that took us downtown to Yokkaichi City Hall where the Mayor's office is located. We met with the Mayor, Chairman, and other city officials in a very formal, structured meeting in a room with a fantastic view of the city. Once we exchanged gifts with the Mayor, we headed to the Yokkaichi Pollution and Environmental Museum for Future Awareness and Planetarium.

2016 Summit with Mayor Tanaka


Four high school students and a chaperone from Long Beach will be selected to visit Yokkaichi, Japan for 9 days to study environmental issues students from Japan and China.

Departure Date:  July 31, 2017
Return Date:  August 7, 2017*
*(Return date subject to extension)

Applications Deadline Due Date:  February 24, 2017
Interview Date:  March  4, 2017

Please contact Bonnie Stoeppelman, Environmental Chair with questions at Yokkaichi@SharpHOA.com or Bonnie@SharpHOA.com or 310-514-1377.

Please follow Steps 1,2,3 below

Step 1:  Please read “Preparation and Participation” below:

Preparation and Participation
Environmental Summit participants will be expected to participate in a series of pre and post Japan Summit activities.  The pre-Japan Summit activities are designed to bring the participants together and to help prepare them for the overseas experience.  Most activities will be held on weekends or during the week after school gets out for the summer.  Participation in most of the activities is required.

Pre-Travel Activities

  • Meeting with the Long Beach-Yokkaichi Sister City Board
  • Three planning meetings; covering what to expect and travel/packing tips.
  • Five Field trips in and around Long Beach
    • Water Replenishment District of Southern California (our water source),
    • Thums Islands (Long Beach’s petroleum source),
    • Covanta Waste to Energy Plant (A Long Beach energy source),
    • Port of Long Beach Tour (World Trade hub),
    • Cabrillo Aquarium. 

Post-Travel Activities

  • Port of Long Beach Presentation,
  • Cal-State University Long Beach – Japanese Garden Dinner/Reception.

Step 2:  Please read “Program Overview” (click on link)

Step 3:  Download Applications below (read instructions on downloading):

The applications can be completed using a computer.  Open the PDF and SAVE it to your computer and RENAME it.  Fill it in using your computer, using the TAB space to move to the next field OR you may print it out and complete by hand.


1Student Information
2.  Student Application
3.  Student Checklist

If you are notified that you have been selected as one of the four Environmental Students to Yokkaichi, please download and complete the following the 2 forms:
1.  Child Consent to Travel
2.  Consent & Waiver of Responsibility & Hold Harmless


1.  Chaperone Information
2.  Chaperone  Application
3.  Chaperone Checklist

If you are notified that you have been selected as the Chaperone to Yokkaichi, please download and complete the following form:
1.  Consent & Waiver of Responsibility & Hold Harmless

City Councilman Shigeo Murayama, Urban & Environmental Committee Chairman and Yokkaichi City Mayor Toshiyuki Tanaka. Environmental Summit Students: L.B. Team (blue & red shirts) and Chinese and Japanese teams.

Museum curators provided us with a history of how Yokkaichi became a city for trade and industry. We also learned the effects that World War II had on the city, and the causes and damages of the city's previous fatal air quality. Due to the largest lawsuit in Yokkaichi's history, a variety of measures were made to improve the environment and help make the air quality as good as it is today. Our museum ended with a relaxing, insightful planetarium experience. This planetarium is known for accurately portraying the most amount of stars of any other planetarium in the world.

After a delicious, authentic Japanese dinner in the summit cafeteria, students exchanged gifts with one another and played Ping-Pong in the game room. It was quiet a hot, eventful day.

2016 Summit Playing Ping Pong

Playing ping-pong with Chinese students.

August 3, 2016
Today, students met in the ICETT lobby after breakfast, and the group got on the shuttle bus to head to the Ishihara Sangyo Kaisha chemical plant. Representatives of the company gave us a thorough tour of the systems that their facility has in place to prevent air pollution and water contamination. Here, we learned how carefully monitored these systems are in order to keep pollution levels far below the required standards. 

We then headed to Isozu monitoring station, which is located in the area of Yokkaichi that is prone to the poorest air quality. Although it was an extremely hot part of town, we were able to see data on how good the air quality has become, especially when compared to the air quality that was the cause of health problems of so many residents over 60 years ago.

We ate bento-style lunches at the Kaisei Catholic Senior High School; an all boys school known for their talented baseball teams. Students from this school presented what they had learned about environmental issues in Yokkaichi and the rest of the world, as well as solutions for these issues. They had very well prepared games and activities to help us learn more about environmental issues, such as a giant board game and an "around the world" water contamination activity.

On our way back from the school, we stopped by a green tea farm house, where the owners presented us with many different ways of consuming green tea. We had tea of different temperatures, poured over rice crackers, sweet green tea balls and cookies, and even ate the tea leaves with a bit of vinegar, which is good for reducing your waste/waist (a joke accidentally made by our English interpreter).

Last but not least, the students paired with their teams back at the ICETT facility to prepare a draft of their environmental presentations, which will be presented at the Yokkaichi Pollution and Environmental Museum for Future Awareness on the last day of the summit. All students worked very diligently, even after an incredibly long day.

2016 Summit Team at boys school

Kaisei Catholic Senior High School

2016 Summit Team at in tea field

Visiting a tea farm.

August 4, 2016
Another early start to go to the city where we learned about state-of-the-art and environmentally friendly processing of garbage disposal at Yokkaichi's Clean Center. Everyone was very impressed by the Clean Center's zero-emission facility, how garbage is broken down and every bit is used for another purpose. This center was incredibly clean, and from behind giant windows we observed each part of the interactive process of garbage disposal. It was a seriously cool experience, especially considering the topic of garbage disposal.

We had a delicious lunch at a restaurant on our way to the Yokkaichi port, and even had some time to souvenir shop at Daiso and Aeon markets.

At the port, we boarded a very air-conditioned tour boat, which took us on a cruise of Yokkaichi's 3 industrial complexes. We saw many ships and cranes similar to those at the port of Long Beach, along with views of industrial containers and sporadic smoke stacks. In the port building, we had impressive 360 degree views of Yokkaichi, as it is the tallest building in the city.

Back at ICETT, students had a hands-on experience learning about the Hinaga Uchiwa fans. Students realized the detail and care that goes into making these fans because they had to make their own fans after learning about the history of the fans.

These past few days have been packed with adventures, and although a bit tiring, our students are doing great. I am incredibly proud of each of them.

August 5, 2016
Today was a nice change of pace. After breakfast at the ICETT, we had an hour and a half bus ride to The Akame 48 Falls in Nabari City for our International Ecology Tour. Here, we were greeted with cute shops selling food and gifts on our way up to the hike to the falls. Before the hike began, we were taught about the salamanders that occupy the area. We saw many salamanders in their aquariums at the Akame center, ranging from babies to those over 50 years old.

On our hike, we saw 3 large, beautiful waterfalls. Although the water levels are not very high this time of year, the views and sounds of the falls were spectacular. We spotted snakes, lizards, caterpillars, cicadas, and even salamanders in their natural environment. We ended our hike with authentic bento boxes. We were all very hungry from our trek.

We had an hour long bus ride to the Ninja Museum of Igaryu in Iga City, where we learned about secret hiding places and trick doors in a ninja spy’s house. We also saw a ninja show, where ninjas used weapons such as swords, ninja stars, and poisonous darts to trick and attack their enemies.

The group was allowed an hour of shopping at an open mall after leaving the Ninja Museum. The girls were so glad that they were able to get in some souvenir shopping time. After dinner at ICETT, all countries worked during the evening to prepare their environmental presentations, which are due for editing and translating tomorrow.

August 6, 2016
We spent the entire day at ICETT today. In the morning, we had an interesting lecture titled “Toward the Realization of Comfortable Living Environment”. The lecture summarized much of what we have learned through our tours of Long Beach and throughout this summit, including problems and solutions regarding the improvement of air quality and conservation of water. We realized that each city can do so much more to reduce water waste and control toxic pollution levels in our environment.

After the morning lecture, we went outside and were greeted once again by the women of the Yokkaichi Association, who prepared us a delicious lunch of Nagashi Somen (flowing somen noodles) and bitter cucumber. It was so fun to catch the somen noodles as they were flowing down a bamboo slide, and the cold noodles were refreshing on such a hot day.

The women of the Yokkaichi Association taught us how to properly wear Yukatas in preparation for wearing them at the Yokkaichi festival on our final day. The women also gave each of us traditional bags that are to be worn with Yukatas, which were handmade by the women of the association themselves. The girls are looking forward to presenting at the museum tomorrow, as well as enjoying the Yokkaichi festival.

2016 Summit Team in yukatas

Dressed in yukatas (summer kimonos) by the women of the Yokkaichi Association.

August 7, 2016
Today we took the ICETT bus to downtown Yokkaichi, where students from Long Beach, Tianjin, and Yokkaichi presented what they had learned during the summit and the environmental conditions of their home cities. Presentations were held at the Yokkaichi Pollution and Environmental Museum for Future Awareness in front of journalists and city officials. All students worked extremely hard on these PowerPoint presentations, and I was so proud of everyone. The Long Beach girls did an exceptionally great job.

2016 Summit Presentation Final Day

After the teams’ presentations.

After presenting, students headed to a city building across the square from the museum to change into their yukatas in preparation for the afternoon's festivities. After the women from the Yokkaichi association helped everyone into their traditional clothing, we worked our way through the crowds of the Yokkaichi Festival to a restaurant for lunch. While sitting on the floor while eating was such a wonderful cultural experience, doing so was a bit difficult for students wearing their snug yukatas.

We had a few hours of free time on our own to explore the festival and shop in downtown Yokkaichi. Here we saw dance performances, drum shows, and many food and toy vendors on the street. It was such an incredible time to be in downtown Yokkaichi!

Finally, the group met for our farewell dinner, which ended up being a very sentimental experience. We took plenty of pictures of the entire group together, and sadly said goodbye to the interpreters and students from Yokkaichi. Although everyone spoke different languages and came from different cultural backgrounds, strong bonds were made between every individual involved in the summit. We will all mis our educational, cultural, and life experiences gained from the Environmental Summit.