February 23, 2012 

Summit of U.S.-Japan Related Organizations: Examining the Bilateral Relationship in a Dynamic Asia-Pacific Region.   On the eve of the one year anniversary of the Great Tohoku Disasters and the centennial of Japan’s gift of cherry blossoms to the United States, Americans and Japanese are reminded of Japan’s important role as a partner and ally in the Asia Pacific Region.  For decades, academic institutions, policy organizations and government agencies have supported and organized research studies, educational and cultural programs, policy dialogues and exchanges to manage and strengthen this important relationship.  What are current trends in the region and how do they impact US priorities for the US-Japan relationship?  Where should our organizations target scarce resources, and what impact can we expect from our investments?

U.S. CULCON hosted a day-long summit on February 23, 2012 of Japan related organizations at the Institute for International Education to discuss and address the trends of U.S.-Japan exchanges.  Mr. James Zumwalt, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs gave a keynote address on The US-Japan Relationship and East Asia: Current and Emerging Issues; and Dr. Allan Goodman, President and CEO, IIE and Mr. Rick Ruth, Senior Advisor, Office of the Assistant Secretary of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs offered comments on Trends, Investment and Impact:  Aligning Needs with Resources.

Fifty participants from twenty-seven organizations involved with U.S.-Japan exchanges addressed the following issues:

  • Declining number of Japanese students in the United States;
  • The stable but relatively low number of Americans studying abroad in Japan.;
  • Underlying factors that contribute to the trends in exchanges including:
    • Academic calendar alignment issues;
    • High cost of study abroad;
    • Difficulties for Japanese students in entering the job search process upon returning to Japan;
    • Japanese corporate culture that does not value foreign language proficiency and/or time spent abroad.
    • Diminishing financial resources dedicated to U.S.-Japan exchanges;
    • Ways that organizations can continue to support and promote exchanges between Japan and the United States.