As mayor of San Francisco from 1978 to 1988 and a member of the Board of Supervisors prior to that, Dianne Feinstein was a familiar face in Japantown and supported various community initiatives, including the establishment of the Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Northern California, which opened its doors in 1986 after years of fundraising. She was the grand marshal of the Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival’s parade in 1979.

As recounted in a Hokubei Mainichi article published in November 1987, Feinstein saw koban (交番) during a visit to Japan and proposed that similar mini-police stations be established in San Francisco. Feinstein, Police Chief Frank Jordan and other city officials attended the dedication of the Japantown Koban in Buchanan Mall, which was staffed by Officer Wayne Sato. Koban were also placed in Chinatown, the Mission and other neighborhoods. For a variety of reasons the experiment did not work out as planned and the Japantown Koban was finally removed in 2004.


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