Skip to main content

Annual Report 2012/2013 Intellectual Exchange with the United States

Intellectual Exchange with the United States

Center for Global Partnership

The Center for Global Partnership (CGP) was established in April 1991 to promote collaboration between the people of Japan, the United States, and beyond in order to address issues of global concern. Its missions are:

●To promote collaboration between Japan and the United States with the goal of fulfilling shared global responsibilities and improving the world's welfare.
●To enhance dialogue and interchange between Japanese and U.S. citizens on a wide range of issues, thereby improving bilateral relations.

CGP implements or supports projects that address global issues in which both Japan and the United States have the responsibility to play an important role, and programs that aim to build a coalition or partnership with a mandate to solve these issues. The center serves to strengthen the foundation of the U.S.-Japan partnership by nurturing the next generation of leaders who will support stable bilateral relations across various fields and by bringing them together in an international network.

Support for Leading U.S. Think Tanks

Many think tanks in the United States actively engage in research, advocacy and other activities across a broad range of policy fields. Providing analysis and advice on current events and public policy issues of domestic and international concern, these policy think tanks are an integral part of the government policy-making process.

CGP offers a grant program for American policy think tanks to promote Japan-related research and policy recommendations. The current recipients of CGP funding are influential public policy think tanks: the Brookings Institution, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, the Council on Foreign Relations, and the East-West Center. A Japan studies post was newly created at both the Brookings Institution and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in fiscal 2012. Given the capacities of think tanks to influence and inform public opinion and public policy, an increase in research on Japan is expected to go a long way towards deepening the understanding and interest in Japan in the United States.

Programs Related to the Great East Japan Earthquake

In fiscal 2012, CGP sponsored two programs and provided grants for 11 others aimed at further promoting interest in Japan that was inspired in the United States after the Great East Japan Earthquake. The programs, implemented as part of CGP's international contribution efforts, are also designed to share the experience and lessons learned from the earthquake and tsunami in order to assist disasterpreparedness and recovery planning.

Photo of CGP APSIA Japan Travel Program for U.S. Future Leaders: Visit to the disaster-affected areas

CGP APSIA Japan Travel Program for U.S. Future Leaders: Visit to the disaster-affected areas

CGP launched a five-year grant program in memory of two American JET participants who lost their lives during the Great East Japan Earthquake: Taylor Anderson, who had worked in Ishinomaki City, Miyagi Prefecture, and Montgomery Dickson, in Rikuzentakata City, Iwate Prefecture. The grants were extended to the students' schools, Randolph-Macon College in Virginia and the University of Alaska in Anchorage, to be used to promote deeper understanding of Japan and Japan-US relations.

The CGP grant program funded a disaster-related exchange project, with a group of entrepreneurs and reconstruction officials from Kamaishi City, Iwate Prefecture visiting New Orleans, the city devastated by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, to share relevant information and exchange opinions on the disaster recovery process and disaster preparedness. CGP also supports Japan-U.S. joint research on collaborative search and rescue operations and an initiative to facilitate international dialogue among emergency and disaster preparedness planners and officials.

Photo of Panel discussion

Panel discussion held as part of "The U.S.-Japan Support Project for Recreating the Tohoku Region through Promotion of Entrepreneurs' Exchange" organized by the Shibusawa Eiichi Memorial Foundation

Japan Outreach Initiative (JOI)

The Japan Outreach Initiative (JOI) offers a grassroots opportunity to develop a deeper understanding of Japan by sending Japanese individuals to U.S. destinations for a twoyear term as program coordinators of community outreach activities about Japan. The program, jointly administered since fiscal 2002 by CGP and the Laurasian Institution, a non-profit organization based in the United States, dispatched three new JOI coordinators in the eleventh program cycle in 2012. Three participants in the ninth program cycle completed their tenure and returned home, while six in the tenth program cycle are currently serving as coordinators at their respective host organizations in the United States.

The coordinators are placed at universities, Japan-America Societies, and other organizations with community outreach programa located in the U.S. South and Midwest, regions where knowledge and awareness about Japan are sparse. They visit educational institutions from elementary schools to universities, libraries, local community centers and other sites to widely introduce Japan and its culture from various aspects such as everyday life, traditional arts and the language. These grassroots ambassadors are making a positive impact in the communities they serve: Yume Hidaka in the ninth program cycle, for example, planned and organized an exhibition of pictures made by children affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake and a sushi workshop that won the Best Educational Program of the Year Award for 2012 by the University of Iowa, her host organization.

Photo of JOI coordinator serving communities in the Southern and Midwestern regions of the United States

JOI coordinator serving communities in the Southern and Midwestern regions of the United States

The Japanese American Leadership Symposium

On March 10, 2013, two years after the Great East Japan Earthquake, CGP, the U.S.-Japan Council, and Fukushima University's Fukushima Future Center for Regional Revitalization (FURE) jointly held a public symposium in Fukushima city called "Towards Common Ground-Connecting Diverse Voices for the Future" (photo). The symposium panelists included distinguished Japanese Americans invited to Japan under the Japanese American Leadership Delegation Program sponsored by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Another panelist was Mitsuo Yamakawa, professor at Fukushima University. They discussed the reconstruction efforts in Fukushima Prefecture and explored possible areas of cooperation between Japan and the United States.

Two years have elapsed since the 2011 disaster, but many Fukushima residents have no choice but to remain in temporary housing, away from the comfort of their own homes. With this in mind, the session turned into a lively exchange between the audience and the panelists about how the residents' diverse opinions can be taken into consideration to revive their communities in Fukushima. The session also drew on the multi-generation experience of Japanese Americans who managed to maintain community bonds even during their World War II internment.

Photo of The Japanese American Leadership Symposium participants

The Japanese American Leadership Symposium participants

Kizuna (Bond) Project

The Kizuna (Bond) Project is a government-run youthexchange project with Asia-Oceania and North America that aims to promote a better understanding of Japan's recovery after the Great East Japan Earthquake and to dispel any false or misleading information connected to the disaster. CGP was commissioned by Fulbright Japan, a fund recipient, to implement the following programs (photo1), (photo2)

● Short-term Visit to Japan by U.S. High School Students

Between June and August 2012 and during March 2013, a total of 1,194 U.S. high school students visited Japan on a 14-day study tour.

Each group toured Iwate, Miyagi, Fukushima and Ibaraki prefectures, where the visiting students met with local fishermen, farmers, and high school students. They learned about the social impact of misleading rumors stemming from contamination fears, observed disaster-stricken businesses in the process of rebuilding, and took part in volunteer activities such as beach cleanup and planting flower beds. Having gained a better awareness about the disaster and its aftermaths, the students are serving as a voice in their own schools and communities in the United States for promoting a better understanding about the impact of the disaster and the recovery process and keeping alive the memory of the events of March 2011.

Photo of Student presentation on the final day of the study tour

Student presentation on the final day of the study tour

● Short-term Visit to the U.S. by High School Students

Japanese high school students from areas impacted by the disaster were sent to the United States on a 15-day tour. In October and November 2012 and in January and March 2013, a total of 996 students toured Washington D.C., New York and many other cities across the United States to bring information about the recovery efforts and to engage in various exchange activities. The students met and shared their stories with large numbers of Americans who varied from U.S. congressmen and state government officials to high school students and church and community members. Acknowledging that little was known in the United States about the state of the disaster-affected areas, the tour participants expressed satisfaction that they were able to impart accurate information to promote better understanding.

● Long-term Visit to the U.S. by College Students

Under the six-month visit program starting in March 2013, 55 undergraduate and graduate students from areas impacted by the disaster travelled to the United States. Designed to generate awareness of Japan's recovery and to develop the next generation of internationally-minded leaders who will be instrumental in reconstruction as well as in sustaining the Japan-U.S. partnership, the program included English language and business practice training, business internships, and study tours throughout the United States. Under a separate program, seven college students were sent to the United States for one month.