June 2024 Issue

TOMODACHI MUFG Sustainable Entrepreneurship Program Kicks Off with Inspiring Online Seminars

The TOMODACHI Initiative has launched the TOMODACHI MUFG Sustainable Entrepreneurship Program 2024.

The program is a leadership development program for high school students across Japan that focuses on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and fosters a passion to make the world a better place for the benefit of people and the planet.

Sixteen students from across Japan were selected and the first preliminary training session was successfully held on June 1, 2024. During the very first training, participants reflected on their values and communication types and spent time on team-building activities to get to know each other better. In the second session on June 8, Mr. Keita Miura, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group introduced the company and its sustainability initiatives, and he personally spoke to the students about the company’s vision and hopes as a sponsoring company of the program. Furthermore, the workshop was designed to encourage participants to think of their Own Project based on significant life events that have influenced them. Prior to the trip to the U.S. in July, Dr. Nori Tarui, Professor of Department of Economics, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa who is a USJC member and Mr. Hiroaki Suetsugu, President of Suetsugu Design Laboratory, are also scheduled to join online sessions as special guest speakers.

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The 2024 TOMODACHI J&J Disaster Nursing Training Program Students were Selected 

The ten 9th cohort students of the 2024 TOMODACHI J&J Disaster Nursing Training Program and two mentors were selected. The participants were a diverse group, spanning the country from Tohoku, Kanto, Kansai, and Okinawa, with different school years and experiences. This program consists of three parts: pre-training, U.S. training, and post-training/final debriefing sessions.

On June 2, the program participants met each other and learned about the purpose of the program and how to set goals. The 9th cohort students listened intently to alumni talks and asked various questions.

On June 15, an online pre-training session was held, where participants also presented and discussed their goals throughout the program. Furthermore, lectures and training sessions on “Disaster Nursing in Japan” and “Leadership” were provided by the lecturers.

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Application Open for the TOMODACHI Story Jam for Youth with Disabilities 2024

The application for the TOMODACHI Story Jam for Youth with Disabilities 2024 is open now. Japanese and American college students and young professionals with disabilities will learn digital storytelling and leadership during the 9-week online program. Participants will explore and identify a moment or moments related to overcoming barriers to tell as a story and make it into a short movie.

This year’s program will run 7-9pm on Tuesdays Eastern Standard Time in the U.S. or 8-10am on Wednesdays Japan Standard Time.

Please click for this application information.

Application Deadline: July 31, 2024

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Join Us! 2024 Next Generation Summit “Voices Unleashed: Unlocking Potential, Creating Impact”

This year’s dynamic Next Generation Summit is designed to explore and amplify the diverse voices shaping our future. This event is structured around three core components, each tailored to unleash potential and inspire impactful action:

Sunday, September 29, 2024
13:00 – 19:00 (Doors open at 12:00)
at Tokyo American Club, 2-1-2 Azabudai, Minato-ku Tokyo 106-8649

TSUNAGARI Hub: A career fair-style exhibition where participants can connect with industry leaders, impactful organizations, and learn about study abroad opportunities. This hub serves as a networking platform to explore opportunities and that align with participants’ passions and skills.

TOMODACHI Voice: A vibrant pitch contest that provides a stage for emerging leaders to present their groundbreaking ideas focused on community action. This segment encourages participants to voice their innovative solutions to pressing societal issues, competing for the chance to share their voices on an even larger platform at the U.S.-Japan Council Annual Conference in October 2024.

Visionary Voices: A series of panel discussions that delve into the concepts of workplace kaizen and empowering global jinzai. These panels feature thought leaders and experts who discuss the transformation of workplaces through continuous improvement and the integration of global talent into Japan’s industries.

Check out the Next Generation Summit Website for more details.

For TOMODACHI Alumni who are taking action in their communities, we encourage you to share your stories.
Six TOMODACHI Alumni are invited to give a presentation on the “Share your Community Action Moonshot”.
The best of the best will be invited to speak at the U.S.-Japan Council Annual Conference.
Apply to be a TOMODACHI Voice Speaker today!

Please contact alumni@usjapancouncil.org for any questions.

New USJC President and CEO Audrey Yamamoto meets with TOMODACHI alumni on her first trip to Japan

On May 25, 2024, eight TOMODACHI alumni were able to meet the new USJC President and CEO, Audrey Yamamoto for a nice stroll around Imperial Palace in Tokyo followed by lunch. The outdoor event in the beautiful weather stimulated the conversation among alumni and with Audrey, and they bonded by the time they reached the restaurant for even more active conversations.

Will Tien, 2016 TOMODACHI Daiwa House Student Leadership Conference alumnus felt that he had the great honor of meeting Audrey. He said he was able to hear her inspiring experiences, and her visit highlighted the strong support USJC has for the TOMODACHI Initiative, which has had a huge impact on his life, and so many others. He cannot wait for the The U.S.-Japan Council Annual Conference, and the upcoming TOMODACHI Next Generation Summit.

TOMODACHI Alumni Regional Framework: Hokkaido Regional Event ”Growth Mindset Seminar"

On May 18, 2024, a workshop on “Growth mindset” was led by alumni Hitomi Shinada, as part of the Hokkaido Regional Event. 

The seven participants shared their recent interests with one another through the open discussions, learned about two types of mindsets, namely “growth mindset” (= comparison between your past self and current self) and “fixed mindset” (= comparison between yourself and others). 

Iori Matoba, an alumna participated from Obihiro city, commented, “I would like to participate again if there is any opportunity like this.”

TOMODACHI Alumni Regional Framework: Kyushu Regional Event "Election Voting Trends and Implications for the 2024 Election"

TOMODACHI Kyushu Regional Framework co-hosted the seminar with Japan American Society of Fukuoka on June 10, 2024. The U.S. Consulate of Fukuoka welcomed Bridgett A. King, PhD from University of Kentucky to talk about “Election Voting Trends and Implications for the 2024 Election” and two alumni joined the seminar and the reception afterwards.

Kyushu Region Core Committee Member, Kotomi Ideishi, alumna of 2021 TOMODACHI MetLife Women’s Leadership Program, shared updates and 2024 plans for the Kyushu Region. Kotomi learned about the intricacies and criticisms of the Electoral College system in the United States, and shared that the lecture highlighted the importance of swing states where demographic changes and voter turnout significantly influence election outcomes.

APPLY NOW!: TOMODACHI Virtual Talk Sessions

Updates about TOMODACHI, plans for alumni programs and new TOMODACHI pillars will be shared by the U.S.-Japan Council management. This will be a safe space where you can share what is on your mind. We want to build opportunities together and want to ensure that they align with your needs and help you on your journey after you’ve had a transformative experience on your TOMODACHI or TOMODACHI Toshizo Watanabe Leadership Program.
Your voice could be the spark that ignites something amazing!


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

Director, Programs & Partnerships, U.S.-Japan Council (Japan)

Please read their bios HERE.

Japanese Session
Monday, July 29, 2024 8:00pm – 9:00pm JST / 7:00am – 8:00am EST
For Japanese Session Registration, click HERE.

English Session
Friday, July 26, 2024 9:00am – 10:00am JST / Thursday, June 25, 2024 8:00pm – 9:00pm EST
For English Sessionl Registration, click HERE.

Q&A with TOMODACHI Program Participants and TOMODACHI Alumni: Hannah Fulton

For this interview, we talked with Hannah Fulton, who is an Alumni of the Toshizo Watanabe Study Abroad Scholarship Program 2022-2023. She is also currently a TOMODACHI Alumni Program Intern, and is part of the TOMODACHI Alumni Regional Framework that aims to connect and empower alumni in their respective regions across Japan and the United States. Under this framework, she is a Core Committee member representing the California Region. She is graduating from California State University Monterey Bay this month with a B.A. in Japanese Language & Culture, and will be moving to Japan in August to work as an Assistant Language Teacher through the Japan Exchange & Teaching (JET) Program.

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*Article published on the web: May 29, 2024

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 - June 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.