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Home合同会議CULCON XXIII > General Policy Recommendations

General Policy Recommendations

CULCON recommends and supportsthe following concrete measures to implement the policy recommendations discussed above in the executive summary.In pursuing such concrete measures CULCON further recommends that a results-oriented approach be pursued and a system of monitoring and evaluation be put into place.

1.Intellectual Exchanges

CULCON proposes to strengthen networks among think tanks and universities in the two countries, to allow for deeper and more vigorous dialog and research not only on topics of immediate concern to the bilateral relationship, but for ways to strengthen the alliance through cooperation and a mutual sharing of goals in the global arena.

The current state of intellectual dialog is insufficient to provide a solid foundation for an enduring partnership between Japan and the United States.In American think tanks, there is a dearth of Japan policy analysts, compared, for example, to analysts who deal with the Middle East, China, and other parts of the world.In Japan, there is the lack of public intellectuals in think tanks, policy schools, and other institutions who can engage in meaningful dialog with their counterparts in the United States and elsewhere.CULCON also notes with concern the comparative decline of Japanese students, undergraduate and graduate, particularly in leading academic institutions in the United States.There is an urgent need to help develop more Japanese who can present Japan’s point of view effectively in international venues, in a manner commensurate with its place in the world.

Specifically, concrete measures should be taken to:

1.Provide for greater development of skills and opportunities to express points of view:

  1. Offer promising Japanese university students and young professionals greater opportunities to develop their presentational skills and their ability to engage in policy debate;
  2. Provide forums for discussion between US experts on Japan and their Japanese counterparts on the role of Japan and the United States in the world;
  3. Include participants from a third country or more in the dialog, while preserving the essential bilateral core; and
  4. Encourage school-level to middle management-level participation in such discussion.

2.Strengthen networks between American think-tanks and universities and their Japanese counterpart institutions:

  1. Address, inter alia, functional issues such as the environment and the economy, and bring together US and Japanese experts concerned not only with the bilateral relationship, but also with regional issues such as the rise of China.
  2. Encourage consultation and joint research between experts in think-tanks and universities in the United States and Japan.
  3. Encourage initiatives to build a community of Japanese and American intellectuals by developing binational academic and policy-oriented research teams and their projects.
  4. Develop bilateral exchanges by focusing on “Education for Sustainable Development” as a common theme to address global issues such as energy, environment, international and intercultural understanding, human rights and peace.
  5. Reinforce high-level dialogue on educational, social and demographic trends and policies.
  6. Recognize the importance of fellowship programs such asthe Abe Fellowship Program and the Fulbright Scholarship Program in building expertise on Japan among non-Japan specialists as well as Japan specialists, and seek toreinforce such programs.
  7. Strengthen support for these purposes through funding by the Japan Foundation and other relevant institutions in the public and private sectors.

3.Continue to identify and nurture outstanding individuals across a widerange of sectors in Japan and the United States who are positioned to contribute to discourse on topics relating to Japan and to Japan-US relations:

  1. Provide them with opportunities to build their knowledge of Japan and to travel there.
  2. Educate US opinion leaders about Japan’s perspective on world issues;
  3. Strengthen the network of the next generation of American experts in Japan-related policy studies and the arts, humanities and social sciences at universities across the United States; and stimulate interest in Japan on the part of undergraduate and graduate students.
  4. Capitalize on the success of the JET program and seek to develop networks among former JET participants to encourage them to contribute tobinational dialog.
  5. Further promote Media Exchanges
    1. Strengthen the exchanges of journalist and editorial writers who seek to contribute to the dialog between Japan and the US in such programs as Japan Society’s Media Fellows Program, the East-West Center’s journalist exchange and the Fulbright Program journalist exchange, and provide them with opportunities to travel to each other’s country;
    2. Introduce a media fellowship component as a part of the outreach efforts of policy-oriented programs such as the Abe Fellowship.

4.Promote and encourage greater study at the graduate level by Japanese students in the United States and US students in Japan.Encourage business and academia in both countries to adequately recognize the experience and deploy the skills of students when they return.

2.Educational Exchanges

CULCON seeks to continue to foster interest in Japan among Americans and interest in the United States among Japanese through programs that focus on language education, cross-cultural communications skills for young Japanese and global awareness for young Americans.

Educational exchanges should place priority on nurturing active interest in each other among Japanese and American youth and instilling a shared sense of responsible global citizenship.Leaders in the field in the United States should look for opportunities to regain momentum for increasing the number of secondary school students studying Japanese in the United States.These numbers have declined for the past several years, due to a shortage of certified teachers, shifts in priorities away from foreign language learning, and other causes.

CULCON also expresses its appreciation towards such initiatives as the Japan Fulbright Memorial Fund, which is funded by the Japanese Government, bringing American teachers to Japan.In future, such program can be implemented on a two-way basis and expanded to student exchanges.

Specifically, concrete measures should be taken to:

1.Improve international communication skills on both sides, particularly through language education.

  1. Enhance English language education at the K-12 level in Japan, especially in primary schools, with greater attention to improving oral expression;
  2. Help develop cross-cultural communications skills through such means as debate clubs and other venues for using English language actively among high school and university students;
  3. Strengthen Japanese language courses at all levels in the United Statesthrough greater advocacy directed to federal, state and local leaders and administrators and greater support by Japanese relevant organizations inenhancing the network of Japanese language teachers in the United States and providing training and other necessary measures; and
  4. Enhance language education, cross-cultural education, educational exchange and global awareness among youth in Japan and the United States.
  5. Enhance exchanges of school teachers and students as these lead to interest in the “Education for Sustainable Development” theme.

3.Grassroots Exchanges

CULCON seeks to solidify existing grassroots exchanges and strengthen those in areas of Japan and the United States that have had limited exposure to the other society.

The reach of sister-city/state exchanges and other existing public and private grassroots exchange activities has been limited so far.CULCON seeks to fully optimize current resources, while at the same time create links and a stimulating environment for grassroots participants and the larger framework of exchanges they work in.They should be considered an asset, and practical applications of their experiences to the network of Japan-US grassroots exchanges should be explored.

Specifically, concrete measures should be taken to:

  1. Strengthen Japan-America societies in the United States and America-Japan societies in Japan, and explore opportunities for greater interaction among them.
  2. Strengthen the involvement of the Japanese American community in Japan-US exchanges.
  3. Provide greater opportunities to individuals and organizations in regions of the United States such as the Midwest, theSouth and the Rocky Mountains to participate in exchanges with Japan.
  4. Strengthen local and grassroots level programs in Japan that involve the United States and US counterpart sister cities and states.
  5. Encourage greater public and private sector recognition and support of grassroots exchanges.

4.Arts and Cultural Exchange

CULCON encourages networking among the diverse actors involved in Japan-US arts and cultural exchanges in both the non-profit and commercial realms.

Japanese performing arts and visual arts have been widely embraced by the American people, as evidenced most recently by the Kennedy Center Japan Festival.Opportunities for American performing arts to be presented to Japanese audiences on a non-commercial basis are more limited.In the area of visual arts, exhibitions tend to be organized independently.International programs of high caliber require the combined efforts of curators who have a deep knowledge of the arts and culture of the relevant country and who understand the needs and interests of the audience they serve and presenters who provide financial and organizational commitments. In both visual and performing arts, it is desirable to facilitate greater outreach of the exhibitions and performances to the public in both countries.

Specifically, concrete measures should be taken to:

  1. Promote greater exchanges of curators of the performing arts on both sides, to expose them both to the production processes and the performing arts community of the other country.
  2. Create networks among art specialists of both countries, including students, scholars, curators and private art collectors.
  3. Explore ways to expand the geographic coverage of exhibitions and performances through mobilizing the networks of curators and presenters, as seen in the Japan Foundation’s grant program Performing Arts Japan (PAJ).
5.Other Areas

Culture and education are at the core of CULCON’s mission, but new developments in the wider relationship between Japan and the United States may bring new opportunities to strengthen cultural and educational cooperation.

The business communities of Japan and the United States have expressed their strong interest in the possibility of a comprehensive economic partnership agreement between our two countries.Such an agreement would enhance bilateral flows of trade, investment, technology and people, including those engaged in education and culture.CULCON can play a role in increasing awareness of this cultural dimension of greater bilateral economic integration.