Mr. Mituo Shikano passed away June 2, 2009. He was 81 years old. He was survived by his wife Junko Shikano and two daughters, Fumiko Suzuki and Kuniko Hasegawa, and grandchildren.
Mr. Shikano was born on Nov. 14, 1927 in Embetsu, Hokkaido, Japan. Shikano was the Chairman and CEO of Rokko Group and other businesses including post secondary vocational schools and technical colleges in Sapporo and Tokyo.
Since he founded his first business, Rokko Farm Ltd., in Embetsu in 1983, Shikano greatly contributed to his home town by providing employment opportunities in various industries in the area. He promoted youth education in Embetsu as well as improving services for senior citizens.
Shikano was a leader in orchestrating the sister relationship with Aoyama Technical College and Selkirk College. This relationship enables Selkirk to offer summer E.S.L. programs for the Aoyama students.
When Shikano visited Castlegar in the 1980s he found many similarities in Castlegar and his hometown, Embetsu. His foresight and passion brought the two communities together to be sister cities. The Castlegar-Embetsu Educational Exchange is facilitated by grants from a fund started by Mr. Shikano which partially pays students’ travel expenses.
Mr. Shikano wished to reinforce the relationship of goodwill and understanding between the young people of Castlegar and Embetsu. He provided an opportunity for the youth of each community to learn about the culture and customs of the two countries.
His passing has been met with heartfelt sadness in both Canada and Japan. He will be remembered as a man with vision who brought two small towns on opposite sides of the world closer together.
Mr. Shikano’s memorial service will be held on Sunday, June 28th in Tokyo.