The Yokosuka Homestay Program provides children from disaster-affected cities in the Tohoku region the opportunity to visit the Yokosuka Naval Base for homestays with the families of U.S. Navy personnel who are stationed in Japan. This program is coordinated by the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo, the TOMODACHI Initiative, and the cities in Tohoku with the cooperation of officials and families of the Yokosuka Naval Base.
In March 2012, this homestay provided a very rare opportunity for children from Rikuzentakata to get to know families of U.S. Navy service members, many of whom participated in “Operation Tomodachi” which provided humanitarian aid to Rikuzentakata and Tohoku in the aftermath of the March 11 earthquake. The program was designed to help lift the spirits of the young children during a difficult time in their lives, and provide a unique way for them to interact with Americans and experience American culture without having to venture too far from Japan.
Participating children, aged 12-13, were hosted by about 15 families living on the base. The children and their host families participated in sports activities, as well as toured the aircraft carrier USS George Washington.