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Sister City - Gotemba, Japan

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About the Sister City Program:

This people-to-people initiative gained momentum from President Eisenhower's historic September 11-12-1956 White House conference on citizen diplomacy. The post-World War II climate proved an ideal environment to launch this kind of effort. The sister city idea developed from the earlier Civic Committee notion. Envisioned by President Eisenhower as the 'main cog' for citizen diplomacy, the sister city program grew throughout the 1950's and 1960's. The Civic Committee and the National League of Cities provided joint administrative support for the fledgling sister city movement until 1973. Sister Cities International represents nearly 2,000 partnerships between United States communities and communities abroad. Interesting facts:

  • All 50 states have communities participating in the Sister Cities program. The District of Columbia also has a Sister Cities program.
  • 694 communities in the U.S. have Sister Cities, with 1,992 partnerships.
  • California has the most sister city programs with 122 communities and 388 partnerships.
  • Chicago, Ill., and Oakland, Calif., have the most sister cities with 25 each.
  • Gilbert, Ark., is the smallest community (population 33) to have a sister city. Gilbert paired with Bride on the Isle of Man in 2005.
  • Cody, Wyo., and Warwick, R.I., are the only cities with Sister Cities in their respective states.
  • Three percent of U.S. Sister Cities have a population of less than 5,000; while 10 percent have a population of more than 1,000,000.
  • New York City is the sister city in the United States with the largest population.

Note: Data taken from Sister Cities International's Membership Services Survey Results Report, 2005-2006 and Sister Cities International's Membership Directory. For more information on Sister Cities International, or to see a full listing of community partnerships, visit

About Gotemba, Japan:

Gotemba is located in the Northeastern part of Shizuoka prefecture, in the center of Japan. The area covering the top of Mt. Fuji to the ridgeline of Mt. Hakone is 194 square km. Gotemba is in a plateau abound with beautiful nature and surroundings. Located at the eastern foot of Mt Fuji and having a population of approximately 84,000, it is developing into one of the most prominent cities in Shizuoka prefecture. Gotemba has been prospered as one of the most important locations contributing to the development of business and culture in the Tokyo metropolitan area since the Tomei Expressway was opened. Mt Fuji, the highest mountain in Japan, is renowned all over the world for its beauty and is well known as the icon of Gotemba and Japan. Gotemba is abundant with nature in each of the four seasons and it is a great environment for sports. You can enjoy the nature while hiking and visiting many historical spots.

History of the Chambersburg Gotemba friendship:

Ms. Tsunako Negami from Gotemba studied at Wilson College in 1920's and she suggested both cities establish the sister city relationship. Chambersburg, like Gotemba, is abundant with beautiful nature, rich historical heritage and recreational spots. Ms. Negami remarked that our Memorial Fountain in downtown was a beautiful icon of our community. 2010 is the 50th Anniversary of our relationship and Gotemba has invited 30 individuals from Chambersburg to visit Gotemba.