Recognizing the importance of International Public Relations, the City of Gainesville has participated in the Sister Cities organization for more than 20 years. The City of Gainesville has two official "sister city" relationships. In the early 80's Gainesville became Sister Cities with Ohito, Japan, which later became Izunokuni, Japan. In 1997 Gainesville and Eger, Hungary created the same alliance with the assistance of ZF Industries. ZF operates a plant in both cities and has been instrumental in helping to maintain the Sister City alliance. In addition, local leaders from Gainesville, Ohito, and Eger have experienced exchange trips which have resulted in a better understanding of all cultures.