Department of Defense Education Activity

Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and DoDEA partner to bring unique cultural and educational exchange opportunities to Japanese and American students

JAPAN — November 13, 2020 — The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the U.S. Department of Defense Education Activity – Pacific (DoDEA), with support from U.S. Embassy and consulates in Japan and U.S. Forces Japan (USFJ), are excited to announce a new partnership which will allow local Japanese students and DoDEA students to participate in educational and cultural exchanges.

“We hope that this project will help both Japanese and American students to forge friendship and mutual understanding on differences and commonalities with each other,” said Mr. Keiichi Ichikawa, Director-General/Assistant Minister of North American Affairs Bureau of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan.

Integrated programs for school corporations and educational institutions will be provided on three U.S. military installations:

  • Innovator’s Camp, Dec. 5-6 at Misawa Air Base. During this camp, students will learn about Misawa’s resources such as crops and seafood, notable businesses, and local traditions. Students will share their creative ideas on how to best utilize these resources to help promote Misawa’s attractiveness.
  • School Project Camp, Jan. 16-17 and Jan. 23-24 at Commander Fleet Activities Sasebo. During this camp, students will learn about education and the history of learning around the world. Japanese university students will share their school life journeys, and students will discuss American and Japanese education systems.
  • Playful Art Camp, Jan. 30-31 and Feb. 6-7 at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni. During this camp, students will learn new ways of expression and communication. Students will learn to express thoughts and opinions beyond using words; for example, painting using different colors to express different feelings.

“Our military-connected students in the Pacific have the unique experience of living and learning in the overseas environment,” said Ms. Lois Rapp, DoDEA Pacific Region Director for Student Excellence. “Through this partnership, DoDEA students will have the opportunity to engage with their host nation peers in a meaningful way while completing projects designed to promote collaboration and cooperation.”

During each two-day camp, American and Japanese middle and high school students will take part in hands-on activities designed to foster a diverse perspective on viewing the world, a sensitivity to accept others’ differences, and problem-solving skills.

“The ironclad, 60-year alliance between United States and Japan set the stage for this terrific exchange opportunity,” said Consul General Andrew Lee, U.S. Consulate General Sapporo. “I hope these young Japanese and Americans will forge new friendships today as students, and I look forward to their becoming tomorrow’s leaders, guiding our alliance into the next 60 years and beyond.”

Participants will adhere to USFJ and military installation Health Protection Condition (HPCON) guidance, including social distancing, wearing a face covering, frequent hand washing and use of hand sanitizer, for the health and safety of all.

"We are pleased to support this important opportunity for our students to engage with their peers in the local community,” said Brig. Gen. James Wellons, USFJ Deputy Commander. “As we celebrate the 60th Anniversary of the U.S.-Japan Alliance, it is more important than ever for our future generations to know and learn from one another. We are proud members of local communities throughout Japan, and are grateful for the hospitality and friendship of the Japanese people. Programs like this deepen even further the shared values and understanding that makes our alliance so strong."