February 20, 2013 

This week, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will visit Washington to meet with President Barack Obama for the first time in each of their new administrations. It is anticipated that during this visit, both leaders will voice their commitment to a strong bilateral relationship and to the U.S.- Japan alliance. The Summit meeting is an opportunity not only to discuss priorities to maintain peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region, but also plant the seeds for a personal relationship. Since 2006, Japan has had six different Prime Ministers, making personal relationships with the Obama administration difficult to establish. Advancing the policies and priorities that will have a lasting impact on the region and bilateral relationship will depend on mutual trust that evolves over time through frequent interactions.

CULCON and JUSFC have been and will continue to promote opportunities for Japanese and Americans to learn about each other through educational and cultural exchanges.  When students study together, compete in athletics together, or share cultural experiences, they establish a bond of friendship that can be enduring. People-to-people exchanges at all levels encourage the knowledge and trust necessary to grow the U.S.-Japan relationship. In order to address the global economic, security and environmental challenges that demand serious attention, the United States needs seasoned and emerging leaders in the White House, Congress, and public and private workplaces. We are optimistic about a productive visit and look forward to partnering with our counterparts in Japan as well as our stakeholders here in the United States in order to further the benefits that come with mutual understanding and establishing a dialogue through public diplomacy and people-to-people exchanges.