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Update from Team TOMODACHI
July 2016

The TOMODACHI Initiative and Microsoft Announce the Launch of a Social Innovation and Leadership Program by iLEAP

On July 13, an event celebrating the launch of the TOMODACHI Microsoft iLEAP Social Innovation and Leadership Program was held at the office of Microsoft Japan Company, Limited. With its roots in the TOMODACHI Social Innovation in Seattle (SIIS) Scholars Program, this program is now fully funded by Microsoft Japan, which has joined the TOMODACHI Initiative as a strategic partner.
This four-week social innovation and leadership program invites students and young professionals  between the age of 18 to 25 to the United States. The participants will work on cases from companies and NPO organizations near Seattle, Washington, developing their own ideas through group projects and observing social innovation take place.
The ceremony celebrated the new partnership between the TOMODACHI Initiative and Microsoft Japan, as Ms. Irene Hirano Inouye, President of U.S.-Japan Council, and Mr. Rich Sauer, CVP and Deputy General Counsel at Microsoft, gave welcoming remarks to open the event. In addition, Professor Kan Suzuki, Special Advisor to Minister of Education, Mr. Koichi Morimoto, Director-General for International Affairs, Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, and Mr. Alexei Kral, Environment, Science, Technology and Health Chief, Economic and Scientific Affairs Section, Embassy of the United States, also celebrated the launch of the program. Dr. Britt Yamamoto, Executive Director and Founder of iLEAP, participated from Seattle via Skype.
The highlight of the event was the two presentations given by program alumni, Mr. Shota Eda and Ms. Sayuri Ishikawa, who reflected upon their own experiences as alumni. Ms. Ishikawa spoke about "learning to measure [her]self" with her own metric system. She emphasized that the program taught her the importance of self honesty, and following her own dreams. More>>

The Latest on TOMODACHI Programs and Activities

Welcoming Back 2015 TOMODACHI Sumitomo Corporation Scholars, and Passing the Baton to the 2016 Scholarship Recipients

On July 13, 2016, the 2015 and 2016 scholars and partners for the TOMODACHI Sumitomo Corporation Scholarship Program gathered for a post-program report and award ceremony at Sumitomo Corporation’s Headquarters in Tokyo.
The recipients of the 2015 Scholarship presented on their study abroad experience, and were acknowledged for their individual growth and scholarly achievements at their respective Universities in the United States.

Kaito Manabe returned from Northern Arizona University with a heightened aspiration to become an astronaut who embraces the Japanese spirit. He encapsulated the personal and scholarly growth of the six returning scholars as he reflected, “Last year I said that I wanted to be an astronaut. Now, I want to change this world as an astronaut, as a Japanese, and as a TOMODACHI alumnus.”

Following their presentations, U.S.-Japan Council President, Irene Hirano Inouye, Cultural Affairs Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo, Dale Kreisher, and Managing Executive Officer and Chief Strategy Officer at Sumitomo Corporation, Masao Tabuchi, made remarks and presented certificates to the ten 2016 scholars.

A reception was held following introductions by the 2016 scholars, and Sumitomo Corporation employees, past and current scholars, TOMODACHI staff, and the program implementer, Study Abroad Foundation (SAF) had the opportunity to interact in an informal and friendly atmosphere. More>>

Reception in Tokyo Concludes the TOMODACHI-Mitsui & Co. Leadership Program for the U.S. Delegates

On July 8, a reception at Ark Hills Club in Tokyo concluded the TOMODACHI-Mitsui & Co. Leadership Program for the U.S. Delegates. Made possible by generous support from Mitsui & Co., this program aims to cultivate the next generation of leaders in the public-private sector, and enhance networks that bridge Japan and the United States.

From July 2-9, the ten delegates from the United States visited Fukushima and Tokyo where they met with Fukushima Prefecture Governor, Masao Uchibori, observed the work of NGO: “Bridge for Fukushima”, visited Japanese corporations including Mitsui & Co., held discussions with U.S.-Japan relations experts, and attained cross-cultural experiences with the 2016 Japanese delegates who will be travelling to the United States in September 2016.

The reception in Tokyo that concluded the program in Japan was attended by the Representative Director and Executive Vice President of Mitsui & Co., Hiroyuki Kato, representatives from the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo, as well as both the Japanese and American delegates. The reception in Tokyo that concluded the program in Japan was attended by the Representative Director and Executive Vice President of Mitsui & Co., Hiroyuki Kato, representatives from the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo, as well as both the Japanese and American delegates.

Representing the American delegates, Arielle Montgomery expressed, “This program was an Enabler. We would like to thank Mitsui for enabling us a once in a lifetime opportunity.”

From September 11-19, 2016, the Japanese delegates will travel to Washington, D.C to participate in the program for one week. More >>

TOMODACHI J&J Disaster Training Program Pre-Trip Seminar held in Sendai and Tokyo

The Pre-trip Seminar for the 2016 TOMODACHI J&J Disaster Nursing Training Program was held in Sendai on June 25-26 and Tokyo on July 9-10 for the twelve nursing students from Iwate, Miyagi, and Fukushima prefecture. They deepened understanding of the realities of disaster medicine and disaster nursing in Japan to better prepare for the two-week U.S.-study tour in August.

Johnson & Johnson Company of Families Japan President, Tamotsu Hiiro and Johnson & Johnson Contributors Committee volunteer member, Mr. Yasumura also attended the Tokyo event to show support for the participants. They hope the nursing students will attain valuable knowledge and grow as individuals and as nurses while on the program, and will contribute their newly acquired skills to medical efforts in the Tohoku region. More>>

TOMODACHI Aloha Leadership Program Participants Reunite with Friends in Tohoku and See Revitalization Efforts in the Region

Four student delegates of the 2016 TOMODACHI-Aloha Leadership Program between the ages of 12-20, returned to Hawaii on June 28 after spending one week in the Tohoku region of Japan. As the fourth TALP delegation, the students were extremely grateful for the opportunity to reunite with friends they had made through TOMODACHI Rainbow For Japan Kids (RFJK), a program which took students affected by the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami to Hawaii for mental and physical recuperation and the chance to learn about Hawaii’s unique culture. After hearing RFJK participants’ tragic stories of loss and hardship while in Hawaii, the 2016 TALP trip gave the four delegates the opportunity to first-handedly witness the revitalization efforts currently taking place in the Tohoku region. 

The delegates had a packed schedule where they met many inspirational people and explored many of the affected parts of the Miyagi, Iwate, and Fukushima prefectures. To show their appreciation through the “Aloha Spirit,” the Hawaii delegates taught their Japanese peers Hawaiian music, along with simple hula hand-motions; together, the students from both countries sang, danced, and built friendships. More>>

Dallas High School Students Travel to Sendai to Further Friendships and to Become Ambassadors for the U.S.-Japan Relationship

From June 27 to July 5, six high school students from the Dallas, Texas area traveled to Sendai, Miyagi prefecture to participate in the 2016 TOMODACHI Dallas-Sendai Young Ambassadors Program. The purpose was to strengthen friendships between the people of Dallas and Sendai, while cultivating young leaders to become future stewards of U.S.-Japan relations.

The students participated in four days of activities, where they learned about the culture and history of Sendai, attained team-building and leadership skills, and enhanced cultural exchange. Group outings included an official welcome at Sendai City Hall, visits to a Japanese high school and to Tohoko University, and tours of sites in Sendai. In addition, each Young Ambassador stayed with a local host family and experienced Japanese daily life. More>>
"This trip opened by eyes and heart in many ways…the warmth and gentleness of my host family and my other Japanese friends reminded me of my own home. Going to Japan has encouraged me to be more open-minded and learn more about other cultures and languages."  – Katherine Alejo

This TOMODACHI NAJAS program was made possible through the generous contributions from the TOMODACHI Fund for Exchanges supported by Mitsubishi Corporation, Toyota Motor Corporation, and Hitachi Ltd.

2016 TOMODACHI LEAD ON! Tour Japan Series Program: A Debriefing Session

On July 6, 2016, the debriefing session for the 2016 TOMODACHI LEAD ON! Tour Japan Series Program was held at the Diet Members’ 2nd building. The two-week program invited young American leaders with disabilities to Japan, who observed how various areas in Japan are approaching independent living. The session began with greetings from Chairman of the Center of Independent Living Muchu, Mr. Kouzo Hirashita, followed by presentations from the U.S. youth. The participants have been inspired by the Japanese leaders with disabilities, and now have a newly developed bilateral approach to independent living. Cherishing and reflecting on the countless experiences throughout the program, many spoke teary-eyed. As both the Japanese and U.S. youth have a uniting aspiration to change the world through their activities, the session concluded with a new goal: to spread independent living to the world starting with a U.S.-Japan partnership and the 2016 NCIL Seminar and 2017 IL Summit. More>>

Register Now for the 2016 U.S.-Japan Council Annual Conference in Silicon Valley!

The 2016 U.S.-Japan Council Annual Conference will be held from November 14-15, 2016 in Silicon Valley, California. Held in the center of high-tech startups and development, this year’s Conference will be an opportunity to advance an innovative agenda in U.S.-Japan relations, exchange views among leaders about challenges and opportunities, and identify ways that the U.S.-Japan relationship can be strengthened. It will be attended by hundreds of distinguished American and Japanese leaders from all sectors, providing a unique opportunity for learning and networking. It will highlight innovation and entrepreneurship, and inspire the next generation of leaders. For more information and to register, click here
Register Now

Alumni camp out for 2nd TOMODACHI Alumni Disaster Resilience Training in Ishinomaki

From July 2-3, fourteen TOMODACHI alumni from across Japan gathered in Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture to take part in the 2nd TOMODACHI Alumni Disaster Resilience Leadership Training Program that enabled them to build capacity by learning various methods, knowledge and activities for disaster resilience from on-the-ground organizations.

The two-day training prepared alumni for disasters through in-depth classes of stress management, danger assessment, and volunteer leadership. Participants of this program were largely students who are interested in staying involved with disaster relief efforts on a regular basis. One alumni commented, “I feel like this program tackles disaster relief from new perspectives. It feels very real to me.”
The training was conducted by TOMODACHI Alumnus Robin Lewis, as well as Peace Boat trainers and Japanese psycho-social specialists from Japan IsraAID Support Program (JISP). Upon completion of the training workshop, each participant received a “Certificate of Participation”. More>>
This program was made possible with the generous support of The Prudential Foundation.
Upcoming Programs and Events
Jul 16-Aug 16          Eighteen high school students from Japan and the United States will partake in the TOMODACHI U.S.-Japan Youth Exchange Program and will travel to Washington, D.C., Tokyo, and the Tohoku regions

Jul 21-Aug 4           Six high school students from St. Louis, Missouri will travel to Ishinomaki to learn about the 3.11 tsunami and disaster on the TOMODACHI St. Louis-Ishinomaki Grassroots Exchange Program

Jul 21-Aug 10         One hundred high school students from the Tohoku region in Japan will participate in an intensive three week leadership program at the University of California, Berkeley on the TOMODACHI Summer SoftBank Leadership Program

Jul 22-Aug 2           Six high school students from a home in Tohoku will travel to Los Angeles, California on the TOMODACHI Southern California-Fukushima Exchange

Jul 23-Aug 6           Twenty High School students from areas affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake will travel to Los Angeles, California for the 5th TOMODACHI MUFG International Exchange Program 
Jul 24-Aug 1           Ten middle school baseball players from Ofunato, Iwate will travel to San Diego, California on the reciprocal TOMODACHI San Diego-Ofunato Baseball Exchange Program

Jul 29-Aug 1           Student Tohoku baseball players will go to Tokyo for a baseball exchange with American students on the "Ray of Hope" Tohoku Baseball Project

Augt 1-6                 Sixteen high school students and ten teachers from Japan and the United States will participate in the annual TOMODACHI Toshiba Science & Leadership Academy in Tokyo

Aug 1-24                 Seventy two students from the United States and Japan will study and analyze U.S.-Japan relations while visiting Boston, Massachusetts; Washington, D.C.; Missoula, Montana; San Francisco, California on the 68th Japan-America Student Conference (JASC)

Aug 3-11                  Two out of the five student teams were selected to observe and learn from civil society initiatives on the ground in Tohoku for the Building the TOMODACHI Generation Program

Aug 5-14                  TOMODACHI NAJAS Grassroot Exchange Program-TOMODACHI Ties Through Taiko will kick-off its second year, with ten Pittsburgh high school students traveling to Mihama, Aichi Prefecture for a cultural exchange

Aug 6-21                 TOMODACHI J&J Disaster Nursing Training Program will take 12 nursing students and three mentors from Tohoku to Washington, D.C. and New York City to meet with disaster medicine experts

Aug 14-21                Sixty high school students will participate in the TOMODACHI HLAB Tohoku Program, a study camp in Onagawa, Miyagi prefecture organized by Harvard University students and universities in Japan

Aug 16-22                Nine Japanese students from Fukushima Futaba Mirai Gakuen High School will travel to New York on the TOMODACHI Suntory Fukushima Mirai Music Program. The students will perform in a concert with the New York Philharmonic on Aug 20

Aug 18-21                Approximately 120 high school sophomores and 20 mentors will join the opening session's dance workshop with the Young Americans on the TOMODACHI High School Women Career Mentoring Program in Fukushima 

Aug 19-21               TOMODACHI Emerging Leadership Program alumni will gather in Los Angeles, California for leadership training and networking at the TOMODACHI ELP Summit

Aug 20-Sep 17        University students and young professionals in Japan will travel to Seattle, Washington for TOMODACHI Microsoft iLEAP Social Innovation and Leadership Program                   
Recruitment for TOMODACHI Program Participants

Please forward and share these opportunities with people who may be interested. 

Apply to be a Mentor or Mentee for the 2016-2017 TOMODACHI MetLife Women’s Leadership Program in Sapporo 

The TOMODACHI MetLife Women's Leadership Program, a ten-month  mentorship program which pairs highly-motivated Japanese female university students with female mid-career professionals to encourage networking, is currently recruiting mentors and mentees for the 2016-2017 program. Mentees will be invited to visit Washington, D.C. and New York City in spring 2017 to meet with business leaders, government officials, and nonprofit leaders.
  • For more information, click here 
(Application Deadline: July 31, 2016) 
2017 TOMODACHI Honda Cultural Exchange Program
Applications are now being accepted for the third year of the TOMODACHI Honda Cultural Exchange Program. Fully funded by Honda, the 2017 program will send approximately 15 Japanese high school students from Fukushima to Los Angeles, California for a two-week exchange program from December 26, 2016 to January 9, 2017. As a part of the program, they will participate in an Iconic American New Year Celebration, the Rose Parade by playing music. 
  • For more information, click here
Building the TOMODACHI Generation: Morgan Stanley Ambassadors Program
Now recruiting participants for 2017!
Building the TOMODACHI Generation: Morgan Stanley Ambassadors Program, is an intensive, two-week program from February 11-27, 2017(tentative) designed for Japanese and American students with an interest in leadership training, cross-cultural exchange, and entrepreneurial approaches to addressing social challenges. 
TOMODACHI Career Opportunities

Executive Director, U.S.-Japan Council (Japan)  -Tokyo Office

The Council seeks a talented, dynamic individual for a newly-created position of Executive Director, U.S.-Japan Council (Japan). The Executive Director will provide leadership and oversight of the Council’s general programs and activities and of the TOMODACHI Initiative. This will include responsibility for the implementation of program goals and objectives, providing leadership and oversight of program development and management, fundraising, communications and operations. The Executive Director will be based in Tokyo and manage the staff in Japan and will work closely with the U.S.-Japan Council (U.S.) staff in the United States.
For more information and to apply, click here.
Special Thanks to Our Newest Donors
Strategic Partner (contributed $1,000,000 or more)
Sponsor (contributed $100,000 to $1 million)

Update from Team TOMODACHI - July 2016

For donors, supporters, and friends of the TOMODACHI Initiative and
the TOMODACHI Generation.



Led by the U.S.-Japan Council, and the United States Embassy Tokyo, the TOMODACHI Initiative is a public-private partnership born out of support for Japan’s recovery from the Great East Japan Earthquake. TOMODACHI invests in the next generation of Japanese and American leaders through educational and cultural exchanges as well as leadership programs.
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