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Abercrombie, Greenwood lead Okinawa parade

UH President M.R.C. Greenwood, Congresswoman Mazie Hirono, Gov. Neil Abercrombie and Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa help celebrate the Worldwide Uchinanchu Festival Eve Parade in Naha, Okinawa. (Photo special to Hawaii 24/7)

MEDIA RELEASE

Gov. Neil Abercrombie and University of Hawaii President M.R.C. Greenwood lead the Worldwide Uchinanchu Festival Eve Parade in Naha, Okinawa, Japan.

Wednesday’s festival is the largest gathering of Okinawans in the world and many return to their home prefecture to celebrate the event with family, friends and relatives.

Hawaii is home to one of the largest expatriate Okinawan populations in the United States of America, thousands of whom emigrated to the islands generations ago to provide labor in sugar and pineapple plantations in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Many in Hawaii’s Okinawan community have retained strong cultural and business ties to the land of their ancestors.

Abercrombie is on the early leg of a trip through Asia to strengthen business ties, promote Hawaii economic opportunities, boost tourism and lay groundwork for the upcoming APEC meeting in November in Honolulu.

Greenwood spent last week in Vietnam helping to inaugurate the new Executive MBA class at the Shidler College of Business in Ho Chi Minh City and to participate in a pre-APEC workshop for Vietnamese business and government officials in Hanoi.

She will receive an honorary degree from UH’s sister university, Ryukus University in Ryudai, on Oct. 13, and along with the governor will plant an Okinawan Cherry Blossom tree at the university, close to trees planted by previous UH presidents.

Former University of Hawaii Regent Ed Kuba and Robert “Bob” Nakasone, Worldwide Uchinanchu Business (WUB) co-founder and former president, accompanied Greenwood on the visit to Okinawa.

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