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Napa has a long and successful Sister City relationship with Japan, dating back to the 1970s. Napa’s Mayor Ralph Bolin and Mayor Furuuchi of Iwanuma signed the Sister City agreement in 1973 and a cherry blossom tree was planted at Napa’s City Hall.

Sister City supporters and the Silverado Ballet Troupe went to Iwanuma often starting in the '70s and delegations came here. There was a large summer class of exchange students at Napa Valley College at the time and, more recently, musical exchanges.

Over the years, the visits have continued and friendships have developed. The last time a Napa delegation went to Iwanuma was in 2008; guests came here in 2015.

We are happy to report that a delegation from Iwanuma will be in Napa Oct. 23-27. The new Mayor of Iwanuma Hiroo Kikuchi will join the delegation for two days at the end of the visit. We wanted to inform the community of this visit in case there are individuals or businesses who would like to participate in some way to welcome our guests.

Napa and Iwanuma also have earthquakes in common and relief efforts have been extended in both directions after the recent quakes. The delegation from Iwanuma has expressed an interest in seeing our recovery efforts while in Napa. They will also be welcomed by Mayor Jill Techel at Napa City Hall.

Dr. Charlie Ray has just retired as chairperson of the Sister City Committee and I am happy to now serve in that role. Please contact me at for more information or if you would like to participate in the visit please contact Betty Malmgren at

Alan Atkinson


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