“KAKEHASHI Project” Invitation: Council on Foreign Relations

Invitation in March 2014

Short-term stay in Japan: U.S. Young Researchers Invitation
Group 4
Council on Foreign Relations

Period: March 2 – 12, 2014
Local Visit Destination: Kyoto Prefecture
Number of Participants: 13

Tour Photo Album

Photo of Orientation

Photo taken with the Assistant Chief Cabinet Secretary
Visit to the Assistant Chief Cabinet Secretary

Photo taken with  a Diet member Yuriko Koike
Visit to a Diet member
(Ms. Yuriko Koike)

Photo taken with  a Diet member Akihisa Nagashima
Visit to a Diet member
(Mr. Akihisa Nagashima)

Photo taken at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Visit to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Photo taken with a Diet member Yasuhisa Shiozaki
Visit to a Diet member
(Mr. Yasuhisa Shiozaki)

Photo taken in Asakusa
Visit to Asakusa
(Learning about Japanese history and culture)

Photo taken at the Agency for Natural Resources and Energy
Visit to the Agency for Natural Resources and Energy

Photo taken at Gekkeikan Okura Sake Museum
Visit to Gekkeikan Okura Sake Museum
(Learning about Japanese local industries)

Photo taken at Shorinji Temple
Visit to Shorinji Temple
(Zen meditation experience)

Photo taken in Gion
Visit to Gion
(Learning about Japanese
culture and history of the local area)

Photo taken at Doshisha University
Visit to Doshisha University

Photo taken at Shimadzu Foundation Memorial Hall, Shimadzu Corporation
Visit to Shimadzu Foundation Memorial Hall, Shimadzu Corporation
(Learning about Japanese local industries)

Photo taken at Bikouen
Visit to Bikouen
(Japanese tea ceremony experience)

Photo taken at Kodai Yuzen-en, Kyoto
Visit to Kodai Yuzen-en, Kyoto
(Experiencing Japanese local traditional craftsmanship)

Photo taken at Kinkaku-ji Temple
Visit to Kinkaku-ji Temple
(Learning about Japanese traditional culture and history)

Photo taken at Nijo Castle
Visit to Nijo Castle
(Learning about Japanese traditional culture and history)

Photo taken at Kiyomizu-dera
Visit to Kiyomizu-dera
(Learning about Japanese traditional culture and history)

Photo taken at Ministry of Defense
Visit to Ministry of Defense

Photo of Debriefing session
Debriefing session

Voices from Participants

1.Having participated in the KAKEHASHI Project, what do you think are Japan’s strengths and attractiveness?

  • Japan is an extremely safe and prosperous country with a fascinating culture and history. The US-Japan relationship, in terms of economics, military cooperation, and political alliance, is a core strength for the security of the East Asian region. Japan also has a fascinating history and culture which makes visiting very enjoyable.
  • Japan's history and rich traditions provide direction to the country and the Japanese people in a constantly changing world. Japan's tremendous resilience is also a great strength. On the 3rd anniversary of 3.11, this resilient spirit is especially evident. Japan's willingness to experiment and innovate - economically, in defense, and energy matters, also provide tremendous strength.

2.How do you change your perspective of Japan through the project?

  • I was happy to see that, despite challenges, the US-Japan relationship is very strong. I loved learning that even though Tokyo is a very modern city, there is still traditional culture preserved in Kyoto. I also learned that Japan is a very easy place for Americans to travel to.
  • I have not spent a lot of time in East Asia and this was my first visit to Japan. I greatly admire the strong culture and sense of tradition with a focus on Japan's future. It seems Japan is focused on making sure the economy grows, and that there is private sector expansion. This focus and drive will greatly propel the country into success; I admire the tenacity of the Japanese people and their commitment to improving their country.

3.After returning to the U.S., what aspect(s) of Japan do you want to learn more?

  • Japan's security is much more tied with that of the United States than I expected. The U.S. needs to really demonstrate its commitment to Japan's security. Otherwise Japan will take it upon itself to build its military even stronger, thereby destabilization security in East Asia. Also, the Japanese economy is much more bank-centered than the U.S., which relies more on capital markets.
  • I have come to have a deep appreciation for Japanese food! I am also interested to see how the Obama Administration's pivot to Asia policy will affect the future of the country. I am also interested in learning more about Japan's foreign assistance program.

4.It is hoped that you will promote further mutual understanding between our two countries, serving as bridges in the Japan-U.S. relationship. What will you do to deepen understanding of Japan’s strengths and attractiveness?

  • I will certainly share my experiences with others and will encourage others to visit, I might also write an op-ed or other article to highlight Japan's importance.
  • I would like to participate in future young professional exchange to build US-Japan commercial/trade relationships.

5.Please freely describe your experience in the KAKEHASHI Project.

  • This was an exceptional program, very well designed and well run. I learned a great deal and will always have a special regard for this wonderful country. Coming from a Korean-American family in the USA, I feel fortunate to have had this experience, which has convinced me of the need to do something to improve US-Korea-Japan relations.
  • I was very honored to meet with such distinguished and intelligent leaders in the Japanese community. I was also surprised and impressed by how open and honest everyone was in talking about Japan's challenges as well as strengths, and answering all of our questions. Thank you for offering such a special opportunity.

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