CULCON Mission Statement

The U.S.-Japan Conference on Cultural and Educational Interchange (CULCON) is a binational advisory panel that serves to elevate and strengthen the vital cultural and educational foundations of the U.S.-Japan relationship, and to strengthen connections between U.S. and Japan leadership in those fields.  It works to ensure that the best of new ideas for cultural, educational and intellectual activity and exchange are implemented as operational programs.

What is CULCON?

CULCON (U.S.-Japan Conference on Cultural and Educational Interchange), a binational advisory panel to both governments, serves to focus official and public attention in both the United States and Japan on the vital cultural and educational underpinnings of the binational relationship.
CULCON originated in a series of discussions between President Kennedy and Prime Minister Ikeda in 1962 as a high-level, informal advisory panel to the two governments for educational and cultural exchanges.  This informal arrangement was formalized by an exchange of memoranda (1961 CULCON Agreement, 1968 CULCON Codification and 1977 CULCON Amendment) that established standing subcommittees to generate agendas for biannual plenary sessions.
In March, 1991, the U.S. and Japanese CULCON panels met in Tokyo and agreed upon specific steps toward the restructuring of CULCON.  Major structural changes included the abolition of the 1968 system of standing committees in favor of ad hoc task forces to address specific issues identified jointly by the two panels, and the establishment of permanent U.S. and Japanese CULCON secretariats.  The U.S. secretariat was to be funded by USIA under the direction of the Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission.
In May, 1991 a Memorandum of Understanding between USIA and the Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission allocated funds for the establishment of the U.S. panel secretariat and activities of one task force.  With the funds transferred from the USIA for that purpose, the Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission successfully established the secretariat for the U.S. CULCON panel in July, 1991.
Since 1991 U.S. CULCON has become a high-level, proactive organization, emphasizing the implementation of recommendations.  This has been possible only with the funding from the U.S. Department of State that provides the infrastructure necessary for constant attention to the issues at hand.  CULCON has taken advantage of its unique mix of official and private representation to make inroads where organizations with homogeneous membership have failed.