In September of 1992, Aki Kanamaru was invited to a sawmill in Kelowna to meet with Mr. Yamaguchi and delegates from Bifuka, Japan who were interested in starting an International College and a student exchange program. In June 1993, Aki visited Bifuka, Japan, then in October Mr. Ishii and Mr. Ishikawa came to Ashcroft to visit. In February of 1994, Aki visited Japan a second time to go over the proposal.
In May 1994, Bifuka visitors arrived in Ashcroft. The Village of Ashcroft hosted visiting dignitaries from its soon to be proclaimed sister city, Bifuka, Japan. Bifuka is on the northern island of Hokkaido, Japan.
In 1994, Mayor Andrew Kormendy of Ashcroft travelled with a delegation to Bifuka to sign the "Sister City" relationship agreement with Mayor Minoru Iwaki of Bifuka. The purpose of the twinning is to promote cultural awareness, tourism and to investigate a way that could better link our communities.
In 1997, through a project coordinated by Aki Kanamaru of the Ashcroft International College, a delegation of Ashcroft Senior Secondary students were invited to Bifuka, Japan, to paint a mural in their town square. The students were accompanied by Ashcroft Secondary Art Teacher, Royden Josephson and local Artist, Jo Petty.
In the year 2000, Bifuka artist, Mr. Kazuhiko Nagaki came to Ashcroft and painted a beautiful mural in the Japanese portion of Heritage Place Park in downtown Ashcroft.
The Village of Ashcroft and Bifuka continue to visit each other on a regular basis. In July 2010 a delegation of nine residents from the Ashcroft, Cache Creek Savona area travelled to Japan for a ten day tour, including three days in Bifuka.