SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – In light of recent tragedies, Salt Lake City has set up a relief fund for its sister city in Japan, Matsumoto.
Salt Lake City and Matsumoto have shared a special bond since 1958. The two cities have much in common, both situated in beautiful mountain valleys dotted with ski resorts and centered with historic buildings.
The sister cities program was established under President Dwight Eisenhower to establish “peace through people.” Matsumoto was Salt Lake’s first sister city. Over the past 53 years, the two cities have shared student exchanges, art exchanges, teacher and municipal employee exchanges, economic development, and several other activities.
After the U.S. experienced the tragedies of 9/11, Matsumoto hosted a fundraiser for relief efforts and donated those funds to Salt Lake City, asking city officials to send them where they were most needed. Salt Lake delivered those funds to New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani.
Although Matsumoto was not in the path of the tsunami, the city is monitoring radiation levels daily. Matsumoto is located approximately 200 miles from the compromised nuclear facilities in Fukushima.
At the City Council meeting on March 22, former City Councilman Dave Buhler addressed the council regarding making a donation to Matsumoto to assist with rebuilding in Japan. Several council members voiced interest in reciprocating the generosity of Matsumoto. Current council members who have visited Matsumoto also commented. 100 percent of the money raised through the relief fund will be given directly to Matsumoto, which can then determine where best to appropriate the funds.
Salt Lake City’s mayor and council kicked off the relief fund with the first donations. Those who wish to contribute can do so at any Wells Fargo location or send a check to Wells Fargo Bank, 381 E. Broadway, Salt Lake City, UT 84111. Make checks payable to “Matsumoto, Japan Sister Cities Relief Fund,” account number 7631654311.