Department of Defense Education Activity

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

For Immediate Release — August 24, 2020 | Pacific

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan and DoDEA Pacific held the first bilateral cultural exchange camp Dec. 5-6 at Misawa Air Base.

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

JAPAN — August 24, 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 continue building upon a partnership which allows local Japanese students and DoDEA students to participate in educational and cultural exchanges.

“We are thrilled to hold this friendship program this year again,” said Mr. ICHIKAWA Keiichi, Director-General/Assistant Minister of North American Affairs Bureau of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan. “This program provides a great opportunity for students of Japan and the United States to forge new friendships and I hope they would become a bridge between our two countries.”

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan - DoDEA Pacific Youth Exchange Program will provide two-day events on four U.S. military installations in mainland Japan. The schedule of events is as follows:

  • Oct. 2-3, 2021 and Nov. 6-7, 2021, Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni
  • Oct. 23-24, 2021 and Feb. 5-6, 2022, Commander Fleet Activities Sasebo
  • Dec. 4-5, 2021, Misawa Air Base
  • Jan. 22-23, 2022, Commander Fleet Activities Yokosuka

“We are always looking to provide our overseas military-connected students with opportunities to grow as global thinkers,” said Ms. Lois Rapp, DoDEA Pacific Region Director for Student Excellence. “This program allows our students to engage with their host nation peers in an educational setting that fosters collaboration and the formation of friendships.”

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

“I’m proud of this program and excited about the impact it will have on our future generations,” said Brig. Gen. James Wellons, USFJ Deputy Commander. “The cultural exchange at a young age between our American and Japanese students creates eye-opening understanding that will stay with them for years to come. They are our future problem solvers. Their connections and understandings will permeate the U.S.-Japanese alliance as they swap stories with friends and family about what they learned from each other. This hospitality and friendship that exists between our local communities throughout Japan will further strengthen our alliance.”

The Youth Exchange Program will adhere to USFJ and military installation Health Protection Condition (HPCON) guidance and implement mitigation strategies to support a safe environment, including required face coverings and healthy hygiene practices.

“The U.S. Mission in Japan strongly supports this initiative to bring together young adults to share their interests and learn about each other's cultures,” said U.S. Embassy Acting Deputy Chief of Mission Karin Lang. “We encourage all students to engage in cultural exchanges and to consider study abroad opportunities. These experiences lead to not only mutual understanding but also lifelong friendships.”