The Licensed Agencies for Relief in Asia (L.A.R.A.) was established in March 1946 by the American Council of Voluntary Agencies for Foreign Service, Inc., New York, New York, as a special commission for conducting relief activities in Japan, Korea, and Okinawa. It was a federation of 13 United States relief agencies and was licensed by the U.S. Government to ship relief supplies in bulk to Asia for distribution to the needy. It was the sole U.S. agency through which welfare shipments in bulk received exemptions and priorities provided by military government. The contract between L.A.R.A. and the Japanese government was not signed until 23 March 1950, and was to "be effective from 1 April 1950 until the activities of L.A.R.A. in Japan are fully terminated." Supplies began to arrive in Japan in November 1946.
The distribution of relief supplies was done through Japanese welfare agencies on the basis of need without respect to birth, religion, or political affiliation and at no cost to the recipient. Most of the supplies were distributed to individuals in institutions recommended by the prefectual departments of welfare. Three Americans served L.A.R.A. in Japan as liaison to the supreme commander for the Allied Powers. They also served as a central coordinating committee for the distribution of contributed supplies.
During the five and one-half years of L.A.R.A. operation in Japan a total of 33,477,122 pounds of food, clothing, soap, and medicine was channeled through the organization. In addition 2,036 goats and 45 milk cows were also among the L.A.R.A. gifts.
The Mennonite Central Committee became a member of L.A.R.A. in March 1947.
L.A.R.A – A Friend in Need, published by the Ministry of Welfare of Tokyo, 1953 (a report on the activities in Japan).
Thanks to L.A.R.A., published by the Social Bureau-Ministry of Welfare-Japanese Government (a pictorial report on the distribution of L.A.R.A. supplies).
Minutes and Reports of L.A.R.A. meetings at the American Council of Voluntary Agencies for Foreign Service, Inc., New York City, New York.
|Author(s)||J. N Byler|
 Cite This Article
Byler, J. N. "Licensed Agencies for Relief in Asia (L.A.R.A.)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1957. Web. 30 Jul 2016. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Licensed_Agencies_for_Relief_in_Asia_(L.A.R.A.)&oldid=83174.
Byler, J. N. (1957). Licensed Agencies for Relief in Asia (L.A.R.A.). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 30 July 2016, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Licensed_Agencies_for_Relief_in_Asia_(L.A.R.A.)&oldid=83174.
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