What began simply in 1992 with a straight forward student exchange of five Japanese 8th grade students with two teachers visiting a friendly western Michigan school for 10 days blossomed into a full fledge Friendship City Program. Yahaba and Fremont now have over 16 students and teachers on average visiting every fall and summer with 30 adults coming approximately every five years during the summer. Approximately 10 years ago the government of Japan was looking for a way to reward the people of the country for a number of years of being economically successful. They gave to the local governments a large sum of money for each city to do with as they wished to improve their communities in some manner. A number of cities developed exchange programs with cities around the world. The idea of global thinking and preparing their children for the future has always been a priority of Yahaba.
The Fremont-Yahaba Friendship City Program has been in formal existence since the signing of the Friendship City Charter on July 23, 1992, during the National Baby Food Festival Previously, the respective mayors of Yahaba, Iwate and Fremont, Michigan recognized the start of their relationship with Fremont hosing the first exchange of students, teachers, and community representatives on January 6, 1992. In 1995, a Friendship City Board of Directors was formed to create and carry out the mission statement and goals of the Friendship City Program. The ten advisory board members are nominated members meeting four times a year.