In 1959, a heavy typhoon raged through Yamanashi Prefecture, Japan. It caused great loss of human life, livestock, houses and farm ground. Iowa Sergeant Richard Thomas, who had spent time in Yamanashi Prefecture while stationed in Japan, heard of this disaster, and asked the people of Iowa to help the people of Yamanashi. As a result of that plea, Iowans showed their humanity and donated to the people of Yamanashi 35 breeding hogs and 100,000 bushels of corn in order to encourage them to recover the difficult situation.

This act of humanity turned into an act of friendship. Iowa and Yamanashi have been joined as sister states since 1960 and is the first sister state relationship between the US and Japan. In 1993, when floods raged across Iowa, Yamanashi Prefecture sent $300,000 to help in relief efforts.

Within the last few weeks, Yamanashi Prefecture has received an enormous amount of snow. This snow has destroyed parts of their agriculture sector, collapsing greenhouses and grape arbors. Fruit trees and livestock were lost as well. Current damage estimates, as of Feb. 24, are at $69.4 million. (UPDATE: $168 million in damages as of today)

"I encourage all Iowans that are able to assist our friends in Yamanashi to do so", said Governor Branstad. "In 1993, the Government of Yamanashi Prefecture helped us out tremendously. Today, Iowans have the opportunity to help Yamanashi in kind through the relief fund set up by Iowa Sister States."

Iowa Sister States has set up a Yamanashi Relief Fund to accept donations to help our friends in Japan.

You can mail your check payable to: Yamanashi Committee-Iowa Sister States

OR Donate via the PayPal link on our website.

Send your donations to:

Iowa Sister States

Attn: Yamanashi Relief Fund

200 E. Grand Ave.

Des Moines, Iowa 50309

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