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Updated:July 9, 2014

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In 1960, Yamanashi Prefecture established its first sister state relationship--with the state of Iowa, in the United States. This led to similar ties with the State of Minas Gerais, Brazil, the Province of Sichuan, People’s Republic of China, and Chung Chong Buk Do, Korea. In addition, as a means of initiating exchange with Europe a new sister-state relationship was started with France’s Saône-et-Loire Prefecture in 2000.

Sister State: Iowa, United States of America

Sister state relationship established March 14, 1960.

When a typhoon hit Yamanashi in 1959, the prefecture received livestock and other farm products from Iowa, which helped to initiate the sister state relationship between the two regions. Yamanashi was the one of the first prefectures in Japan to form such an international relationship.

  • Population: 2,930,000
  • Area: 145,000 km2
  • Capital: Des Moines (pop. 200,000)
  • Agriculture: Corn, pigs, cattle, soybean, wheat
  • Industry: Machinery, food, chemistry, biotechnology
  • URL:
 Iowa, United States

Sister State: Minas Gerais, Brazil

Relationship established July 25, 1973

While Yamanashi is famous for its gem polishing and jewelry-making, Minas Gerais is renowned for its dealings in raw precious metals--thus providing the perfect connection for both regions to become acquainted and set up exchanges. Located on the opposite side of the globe from Yamanashi, Minas Gerais acts as a basis for the promotion of exchange with Central and South America.

  • Population: 17,890,000
  • Area: 588,000 km2
  • Capital City: Belo Horizonte (pop. 2,240,000)
  • Agriculture: Livestock farming, coffee, soybeans, pineapples, corn
  • Industry: Iron, steel, cement, automobiles, pulp
  • URL:
 Minas Gerais, Brasil

Friendship Province: Sichuan, China

Friendship tie established June 18, 1985

Like Yamanashi Prefecture, Sichuan Province’s central region is located in a basin. Long ago, when Sichuan was still known asthe "Country of Shoku," the province was home to two famous military figures of China’s Three Kingdoms period (220-280): Liu Bei and Zhuge Liang. Presently, Sichuan is known for its traditional arts such as embroidery and lacquerware. The province resembles Yamanashi in both history and culture.

  • Population: 86,730,000
  • Area: 485,000 km2
  • Capital City: Chengdu (pop. 10,190,000)
  • Agriculture: Rice, rapeseed, silk, citrus fruits, pigs, tea, herbal medicine
  • Industry: Steel, chemicals, machinery
  • URL:
 Sichuan, China

Sister Province: Chung Cheong Buk-Do, South Korea

Relationship established March 27, 1992

Like Yamanashi Prefecture and Sichuan Province, the topography of Chung Cheong Buk-Do is that of an inland basin, bordered by the Sobaek and Charyeong Mountain Ranges. Chung Cheong’s natural beauty is illustratedin a local saying: "Fresh like the wind and clear like the moonlight." The region is also home to many modern industries and a lively economic sector, made possible by the 1997 opening of Cheongju International Airport in the Capital City of Cheongju.

  • Population: 1,500,000
  • Area: 7,400 km2
  • Capital City: Chong-ju
  • Agriculture: Grapes, ginseng, shiitake mushrooms, dried persimmon, aquarium fish, processed livestock products, red pepper, tobacco, apples
  • Industry: Semicounductors, electronics, leather, chemical products, VCR tape.
  • URL:
 Chung Cheong Buk-Do

Sister Department: Saône-et-Loire, France

Relationship established April 7, 2000

Yamanashi’s basis of exchange with Europe lays in its sister state relationship with Saône-et-Loire. Located in the south of Bourgogne (world-renowned for its wines), Saône-et-Loire boasts an impressive landscape, with the Saône and Loire Rivers flowing peacefully amidst the gentle hills of a rich countryside.

  • Population: 540,000
  • Area: 8,600 km2
  • Capital City: Macon (pop. 34,000)
  • Agriculture: Wine, Charolais Beef, Bresse farm-raised chickens, cheese
  • Industry: Photo development, electronics manufacturing, furniture production, transportation, cotton fiber, metal, pharmaceuticals, food processing, plastics
  • URL:
 Saone-et-Loire, France