February 2024 Issue

TOMODACHI J&J Disaster Nursing Training Program 2023:Final Presentation

The final presentation of the TOMODACHI J&J Disaster Nursing Training Program was held online on December 11th, 2023.

Opening remarks were made by Mark Ikeno, Executive Director of
the U.S.-Japan Council (Japan). Participants Tsubasa Eshima, Maho Furukawa, Daisuke Homon, and Mayu Yoneyama presented the flow of the program over the six-month period and what they learned at each training session. In addition, on behalf of the participants, Mao Ishizu and Yurika Imai gave a presentation on their personal growth through the program.

One of the participants, Mao Ishizu, reflected "the final debriefing session allowed us to look back and verbalize the past six months and integrate our learning to this point. In addition to acquiring knowledge and skills related to disaster nursing, this program has allowed me to hone my communication and leadership skills. As I gained new perspectives through various experiences, I was able to enrich my insight on disaster nursing and think about my own future direction and personal growth. In addition, I have also encountered wonderful colleagues, whom I consider the most precious treasure of all." Read More>>

TOMODACHI Amway Japan Foundation Tohoku Future Leader Program 2024 held the Pre-departure Training

TOMODACHI Amway Japan Foundation Tohoku Future Leader Program 2024 started in Rikuzentakata City, Iwate Prefecture. Sixteen high school freshmen and sophomores from the city have been selected to participate in the seven-month program, which consists of pre-departure seminars, a study trip to the United States, post-trip seminars, and a final presentation.

The program was created to foster the next generation of leaders in Tohoku who will rediscover the charms of their town and revitalize it through the power of tourism. The first program was held in 2019, and this year will be the second year of the program. Read More>>

TOMODACHI Story Jam for Youth with Disabilities Participants Visit Northrop Grumman Corporation

On February 5th, 2024 the 2023 participants of “TOMODACHI Story Jam for Youth with Disabilities” visited the program sponsor Northrop Grumman Corporation. This event, which was held in a hybrid format, had a total of 15 participants. Twelve people, including 2 program participants, gathered at the venue, and 3 people participated online.

At the beginning of the meeting, there was an overview of Northrop Grumman's program support and an explanation of the program. The participants then introduced themselves, highlighting the videos they had created, and then watched the videos they created during the program with all of the event participants.

In response to the participants' stories and the videos, Northrop Grumman employees asked a variety of questions and shared feedback with the participants. In addition to asking questions of the participants about the video production process, what they are studying at schools, and career paths, the participants also asked employees questions about their work and their backgrounds. Read More>>

TOMODACHI – U.S. Embassy Go for Gold Sports Leadership Program:2nd Orientation

The second orientation for the TOMODACHI – U.S. Embassy Go for Gold Sports Leadership Program was held virtually on January 21st. Two key items were covered supporting the program parameters established during the in-person orientation held in Tokyo on December 10th, 2023. Time was also allocated to talk about travel tips, general housekeeping items, and address delegate questions.

Touched upon details such as entering into the United States, safety protocols, the tipping culture, and even details on what they should consider bringing with them on the two-week trip next month. Read More>>

32nd BAB Meeting Discusses the Landscape of Preventive Medicine to Preserve Wellness

On January 24th, the 32nd Business Advisory Board (BAB) Meeting was held at the Tokyo American Club. Under the leadership of Vice Chair of the Board of Councilors Masaaki Tanaka, USJC (Japan) welcomed Professor Tomoaki Kato (Columbia University), a renowned multi-organ and liver transplantation surgeon, as the featured speaker. His presentation, “Preserving Wellness: Navigating the Landscape of Preventive Medicine,” attracted 50 business leaders and seven Next Generation leaders, including TOMODACHI Initiative alumni and interns.

Prior to the keynote speech, participants Board of Councilors Member Kazuo Hirai (Sony Group Corporation), Masago Minami (THE YOMIURI SHIMBUN) and Hidemi Moue (Japan Industrial Partners, Inc.) delivered short remarks, which encouraged networking among the participants. Read More>>

[Invitation for TOMODACHI Alumni]TOMO-KIN Spring 2024 with Guest Speaker Mr. Masaharu Kohno

TOMO-KIN is a casual gathering for the TOMODACHI alumni and Watanabe Scholars to get together and connect across industries, regions, and interests. More information about TOMO-KIN can be found here. Limited to the first 40 people. If you would like to join, sign up from this link. We will email the details to those who signed up. This is on a first-come, first-served basis.

Guest Speaker: Mr. Masaharu Kohno
Mr. Masaharu Kohno is a former diplomat of Japan and was the Ambassador to Russia and Italy
after the post of Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan. After retirement he has taken
various posts in the private sector including the Outside Director of Mitsui Sumitomo
Financial Group. He is the Senior Advisor to TOMODACHI Initiative.

Date: Monday, March 18th, 2024
Event time: 19:00-21:00 Japan Time (Doors open: 18:30)
Format: In-person
Attire: Business casual
Registration: click here
Venue: fabbit (Tokyo) (Chiyoda City, Marunouchi, 1 Chome−8−1 Marunouchi Trust Tower N Bldg 19F) ←NEW VENUE!


As a valued member of the TOMODACHI Generation, we invite you to participate in a brief survey to share your experiences and insights. Your feedback is crucial in shaping the future of our programs and continuing the legacy of our vibrant community.

The survey will take approximately 5-7 minutes to complete. Your responses will remain confidential and be used solely for enhancing our initiatives.

By filling out the form, you will have the opportunity to be entered into a raffle. If you choose to enter, please be sure to share your email address at the end to receive your gift. We will announce the winners in April.

Thank you for adding your voice in order for TOMODACHI to continue to create programming that is best suited for YOUR needs and the needs of the TOMODACHI Generation.


TOMODACHI Alumni Regional Framework Theme Event in Okinawa Region: KICKOUT X TOMODACHI

On December 16th, 2023, the Okinawa Regional event "KICKOUT X TOMODACHI" was held at the RIOT GYM Naha, Okinawa.

Five TOMODACHI alumni participated in the event. All participants enjoyed KICKOUT exercises, snacks and conversation. KICKOUT is an exercise program in which authentic martial arts movements are performed to music and can be enjoyed by anyone, regardless of age or experience. It was a feeling of togetherness when we all sweated together, and even though some participants had no experience in kickboxing, it was a great feeling when we finally completed the combination.

The event also allowed us to network with people who are not TOMODACHI alumni. We will miss the people who will be leaving Okinawa next year, but we introduced them to TOMODACHI events in other regions.
Reina Fukuyama and Michiyo Hashimoto said, “We enjoyed moving around and sweating. It was the first time at an event like this, but it was a good opportunity to see each other to catch up.”

Q&A with TOMODACHI Program Participants and TOMODACHI Alumni: Yuya Okada

For this interview, we talked with Yuya Okada, an alumnus of the 2020 Building the TOMODACHI Generation: Morgan Stanley Ambassadors Program, a two week program involving cross-collaboration with Japanese and American students focusing on leadership, cross cultural exchange, and social challenges. Yuya is pursuing a career in the field of law, and will begin a new job with the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare in April. He has also been helping support the U.S.-Japan Council Business Advisory Board, and aims to continue to connect and stay in touch with the many government officials and corporate executives who support TOMODACHI and the U.S.-Japan Council. Read More>>

Power of TOMODACHI :"Yota Kishimoto" TOMODACHI – U.S. Embassy Go For Gold Sports Leadership Program

TOMODACHI – U.S. Embassy Go For Gold Sports Leadership Program alumni,Yota Kishimoto was selected by his colleagues to speak on their behalf at the Awards Ceremony held at the Roppongi Hills Club in March 2023. He ended his speech saying, “I would like to thank the U.S.-Japan Council and the U.S. Embassy Tokyo for giving us this wonderful opportunity to learn. Now, it is up to us to figure out what to do to succeed.”

Fast forward, after graduating from the University of Tsukuba, Yota is making good on his words, deciding to leave Japan to pursue a master’s degree in Olympic Studies in Köln, Germany. He recently commented, “my first challenge outside of Japan was harder than I expected because of the lack of English and new things I'd never experienced before, and I always feel I need to work on it more diligently”. Read More>>

TOMODACHI Opportunities 

Interns, U.S.-Japan Council (Japan) & TOMODACHI Initiative (remote)
The U.S.-Japan Council (Japan) & TOMODACHI Initiative are currently seeking interns. The internship offers an exciting environment where interns will be exposed to the non-profit, corporate, and government fields simultaneously. Responsibilities include creating and drafting documents, translation, website management, social media management, newsletter development support, public speaking, communication with program participants, designing presentations and posters, and event planning and operations. Interns generally work remotely, but may be asked to assist with in-person events as needed.
Please note that this internship is unpaid.
For more information and to apply, click here.

Social Media Intern, TOMODACHI Initiative Alumni (remote)
The Social Media Intern will assist the Director of Programs and Partnerships for the U.S.-Japan Council and the TOMODACHI Alumni Coordinator in the area of social media and other marketing and communications for the TOMODACHI Initiative Alumni Leadership Program as needed.  Reports to the Director of Programs and Partnerships for the U.S.-Japan Council. This position requires conveying and dispersing information from TOMODACHI Alumni Affairs to the TOMODACHI alumni community, as well as the broader U.S.-Japan Council community. 
For more information, click here.
Please send applications to alumni@usjapancouncil.org.
Program Intern, TOMODACHI Initiative Alumni (remote)
The Program Intern will assist the Director of Programs and Partnerships for the U.S.-Japan Council and the TOMODACHI Alumni Coordinator in the area of programming for the TOMODACHI Initiative Alumni Leadership Program. Reports to the Director of Programs and Partnerships for the U.S.-Japan Council. This position requires conveying and dispersing information from TOMODACHI Alumni Affairs to the TOMODACHI alumni community, as well as the broader U.S.-Japan Council community. 
For more information, click here.
Please send applications to alumni@usjapancouncil.org.


Update from Team TOMODACHI - February 2024

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

Led by the U.S.-Japan Council and the U.S. Embassy in 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 and leadership programs.