1. (1)CULCON Education Task Force Report; Japanese, English【PDF:2.6MB】
  2. (2)CULCON Education Task Force Report, 2013-2014, Japanese/English 【PDF:5MB】

ETF’s Recommendations


  1. 1)Recognizing the government’s important role in exchanges, issue a strong statement endorsing the importance of international experience for nurturing global citizens.
  2. 2)Recognizing that English language instruction in Japanese schools is in need of reform, adopt major steps to improve it:
    1. a)Increase the emphasis on communication skills in English language training.
    2. b)Employ an international standardized English test such as TOEFL and IELTS as part of the entrance exams for the universities.
    3. c)Expand the JET Programme to include experts in English-language teaching and other specialists.
    4. d)Develop a role for JET alumni in English-language instruction and other subjects.
  3. 3)Advance the process of internationalizing universities in Japan.
    1. a)Change the academic calendar to facilitate a wide variety of exchanges to make it more possible for Japanese students to study abroad in the summer and then re-enroll in their home institution in the fall and for American students to study in Japan.
    2. b)Encourage a liberal arts education for better training of global citizens.
    3. c)Expand the number of courses/programs in English at Japanese universities.
  4. 4)Seek a business-wide agreement through the good offices of major business groups in Japan to reform the hiring process of new graduates.
    1. a)Encourage companies to postpone active recruitment of students until later in their undergraduate careers, allowing time for study abroad.
    2. b)Value overseas experience and English proficiency in the hiring process.
  5. 5)Expand private sector scholarships for Japanese students to study abroad.
  6. 6)Expand International Baccalaureate programs.


  1. 1) Recognizing the government’s important role in exchanges, take steps to facilitate study abroad by Japanese students.
    1. a) Demystify the student visa process.
    2. b) Improve the quality and accessibility of information on U.S. study programs (application process, costs, financial aid, and admissions requirements), and increase student awareness of the wide variety of U.S. educational institutions.
    3. c) Expand the number and use of university fairs and virtual university fairs for specific target audiences (i.e., semester or year-abroad programs, by field of study, by type of program).
    4. d) Expand EducationUSA’s visibility and activities in Japan and publicize more widely U.S. programs such as Fulbright and other scholarship and exchange programs.
  2. 2) Encourage U.S. universities to develop and promote non-degree programs featuring English-language, practical business, and other training along with degree/exchange programs, and make students more aware of how to gain provisional acceptance to degree programs (e.g., Bridge and/or Pathway programs).
  3. 3) Recognizing that Japanese subsidiaries of U.S. firms have a role to play in promoting study abroad by Japanese students, seek their cooperation in efforts to reform the process of recruiting new graduates from Japanese universities.
  4. 4) Expand private sector support for U.S.-Japan exchange programs including internships and public-private partnerships such as the TOMODACHI Initiative.
  5. 5) Enhance efforts to promote the hiring and training of global talent in the United States.
  6. 6) Encourage the continuation and enhancement of a “reverse JET” program organized by the U.S. side that would invite Japanese youth to contribute to Japanese language education in the U.S.


  1. 1) Encourage government-to-government strategic dialogue on educational exchange and include the issue in the agenda of a future bilateral summit.
  2. 2) Expand study abroad opportunities for high school and university students
  3. 3) Enhance and increase government-funded grants for study abroad, including short-term study scholarships for high school and/or university students.
  4. 4) Encourage U.S. and Japanese campuses to improve their infrastructure for accepting international students.
  5. 5) Actively reach out to students and study abroad advisers and provide them with information about programs and scholarships.
  6. 6) Promote regional studies and intellectual exchanges to deepen mutual understanding and encourage study abroad.
  7. 7) Assign merit to high school experience abroad in the Japanese and American university admissions process.
  8. 8) Expand funds and local support for the study and teaching of the Japanese language in the U.S. by various means.
  9. 9) Expand “JUSTE” (Japan-U.S. Training and Exchange Program for English Language Teachers), a program to bring English-language teachers from Japan to U.S. campuses, and other programs with similar goals
  10. 10) Increase opportunities for non-matriculating students to enroll in semester- or year-long programs through consortia (such as ISEP).
  11. 11) Encourage grassroots exchanges and early exposure to each other’s culture as additional tools to give incentives for study abroad.
  12. 12) Encourage the relevant professional groups to improve transfer of credit for U.S.-Japan study abroad students (such as CHEA, JUAA and NIAD-QE).
  13. 13) Support and raise the visibility of the alumni activities of Japanese and Americans who studied abroad and encourage alumni groups to actively recruit students for the institution they attended.
  14. 14) Expand institutional linkages among the two countries’ relevant professional and higher education organizations.
  15. 15) Promote active and mutually beneficial partnerships between American universities and Japanese universities, and extend the range of institutions included.
  16. 16) Encourage key exchange organizations such as the Institute of International Education (IIE) and Japan Student Services Organization (JASSO) to expand cooperation in research, data collection and sharing of best practices, including in methods of data collection to capture non-credit/short-term service learning.
  17. 17) Establish metrics and measures to assess progress toward reaching the goal of increasing U.S.-Japan student exchanges and annually share information on both sides.

About ETF

1. ETF’s Objectives

To examine the causes behind the slow pace of exchanges between Japan and the US and recommend mechanisms to bolster exchanges.

2. ETF Members

The task force is comprised of experts in the private sector, government and academia, with former prime minister Yasuo Fukuda and former US Secretary of Commerce Norman Mineta serving as supreme advisors.

Members in Japan As of June 2013

Supreme Advisor
  • Yasuo Fukuda
    Former Japanese Prime Minister
Task Force Members
  • Minoru Makihara
    CULCON chair
    Senior Corporate Advisor and Former Chairman, Mitsubishi Corporation
  • Yuichiro Anzai
    CULCON panelist
    President, Japan Society for the Promotion of Science
  • Ryozo Kato
    Former Ambassador to the United States
  • Teiichi Sato
    CULCON panelist
    Former Vice Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT), Former Ambassador to United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
  • Shigeharu Kato
    CULCON panelist
    Director-General for International Affairs, Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology
  • Masayuki Shibata
    CULCON panelist
    Director-General for Cultural Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Members in US

Supreme Advisor
  • Norman Mineta
    Former US Secretary of Transportation, Secretary of Commerce
Task Force Members
  • Thierry Porte
    CULCON panelist Managing Director, J.C. Flowers and Co., LLC
  • Sylvia Crowder
    Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Postsecondary Education, US Department of Education
  • Meghann Curtis
    Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, US Department of State
  • Mark Davidson
    Minister-Counselor for Public Affairs, US Embassy Tokyo
  • Charles D. Lake II
    Chairman, Afflac Japan, Chairman of the US-Japan Business Council (USJBC)
  • Susan Pharr
    Professor of Japanese Politics, Harvard University
  • Susan Stevenson
    Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, US Department of State
Outside Advisors
  • Peggy Blumenthal
    Senior Counselor to the President, Institute of International Education (IIE)
  • Rosie Edmond
    Regional Director, Northeast Asia & the Pacific, EducationUSA
  • Arlene Jackson
    Director of International Education, American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU)
  • Patti M. Peterson
    Presidential Advisor, Internationalization and Global Engagement, American Council on Education (ACE)
  • Bruce Stronach
    Dean, Temple University, Japan Campus

3. Background of ETF

  1. (1)The US-Japan alliance is based on the strong ties between the two countries’ citizens, and educational and cultural exchanges have played an important role in this. Over the past 15 years, the number of Japanese students studying in the US has dropped by 57%, falling below 20,000 in 2011-12, and Japan fell from being the number-one country of origin for foreign students on US campuses to seventh place. The number of US citizens studying in Japan tripled during the same period to reach 6,000, but the absolute number is still extremely small.
  2. (2)At the recommendation of a joint committee at CULCON XXV held in April 2012, the Education Task Force (ETF) was established.

4. ETF Activities

May 2012
Education Task Force (ETF) established
January 2013
US-Japan ETF meeting in Honolulu
May 2013
ETF Round Table and Education Task Force Initiative CULCON and Waseda University’s Joint Symposium “US-Japan Relationship and Expanding Educational Exchanges: Toward Doubling US and Japanese Exchange Students” held at Masaru Ibuka Auditorium, International Conference Hall, Waseda University
June 2013
ETF Report presented to Prime Minister Abe and Under Secretary of State Tara Sonenshine (【PDF:2.6MB】)
January 2014
US-Japan joint ETF follow-up in Honolulu
April 2014
ETF target shared in the joint statement from the summit meeting between Prime Minister Abe and President Obama (Annex to Joint Statement)
CULCON co-chairs release statement welcoming this initiative
May 2014
Report presented to CULCON television conference
November 2014
ETF Report 2013-2014【PDF:5MB】 submitted at CULCON XXVI
Agreement to establish Education Review Committee (ERC)
June 2015
ERC established (ERC takes over ETF’s functions)

5. Results

  1. (1)The task force examined trends in student exchanges between the US and Japan, compiled recommendations to achieve the goal of doubling the number of US and Japanese students studying in each other’s country by 2020 and presented the ETF report compiling the ETF’s recommendations for achieving this target to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Under Secretary of State Tara Sonenshine in June 2013.
  2. (2)At the CULCON XXVI joint meeting in 2014, the ETF Report 2013-2014【PDF:5MB】, summarizing the subsequent initiatives taken by Japan and the US to implement the aforementioned ETF recommendations, was submitted by the ETF Follow-up Committee.
  3. (3)In the annex to the joint statement made by Prime Minister Abe and President Obama at their summit meeting in April 2014, the governments stated that they share CULCON’s goal of doubling two-way student exchange.

6. Future Activities

The newly established Education Exchange Review Committee (ERC) will compile and analyze data on the achievement of ETF’s goal for 2020, consider various measures and confirm progress. These results will be summarized in a report to be submitted to CULCON, held every other year.

ETF Round Table