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Yamanashi, Japan Governor Visits Iowa for 50th Anniversary of Sister State Relationship

CONTACT:   Carol Grant, Iowa Sister States

PHONE:        515.725.3163 or 515.664.0096

                                               

Yamanashi, Japan Governor Visits Iowa for 50th Anniversary of Sister State Relationship

 

August 3, 2011 (Des Moines, Iowa) - In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Iowa – Yamanashi friendship, a delegation led by Shomei Yokouchi, Governor of Yamanashi Prefecture, Japan will visit Iowa next week.  Also included in the delegation will be Chairman of the Yamanashi Assembly, Rikizo Asakawa.  While in Iowa, they will meet with their respective Iowa counterparts, Governor Terry Branstad and Iowa Senate President, John (Jack) Kibbie.

 

The long-standing Sister State relationship began in 1959, following back-to-back typhoons that devastated Yamanashi Prefecture.  In response to these events, an Iowan stationed with the US Air Force in Tokyo appealed to his fellow Iowa farmers. Subsequently, 36 Iowa hogs were air- lifted to Yamanashi with enough corn for their immediate needs. This relationship was the first of such state friendships forged between the US and Japan following World War II.

 

In 1962, Yamanashi gave Iowa the Bell of Peace and Friendship, in appreciation of Iowa's heartfelt gift.  The bell still stands on the south grounds of the Iowa Capitol.  However, after 50 years, the bell structure had become worn and the surrounding gardens overgrown. Iowa Sister States successfully led a campaign to raise funds and has restored the structure and gardens.

 

Two 50th anniversary events are open to the public.  The Japanese Bell Re-dedication Ceremony will be held on Friday, August 12 from 11 am - Noon. The bell is located east of the Judicial Building, off Court Avenue on the south grounds of the Iowa Capitol.  The Reaffirmation of the Sister State relationship will be held on Saturday, August 13 at the Iowa State Fair on the Knapp Stage from 3 - 3:45 pm.

 

Please call Carol Grant at 515.725.3163 for more information.

 

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