From March 1 to 7, 25 researchers and graduate students from five universities in Tokyo, including Waseda University, visited Washington DC as part of the Kakehashi Project.
This project is conducted by Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, whose activities include supporting public diplomacy, and aims to promote understanding for Japan and interests toward Japan worldwide. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe proposed to accelerate the exchange of people during his speech at Columbia University in 2014. Since then, exchange programs have been conducted with the Asia-Pacific, Europe, Latin America, and North America, out of which activities with North America have been referred to as Kakehashi.
Two year ago, 50 students from Columbia University visited Waseda and participated in a lecture about Japan. This time, young Japanese scholars visited the US to deepen mutual understanding between Japan and US, and they visited sites such as think tanks, universities, research institutes, private companies and the Embassy of Japan.
At the Embassy, the delegates learned about how Japan promotes public diplomacy. A representative from the Sumitomo Cooperation of America also gave them the analyses on the 2016 presidential election and spoke of how companies reacted, followed by Q&A session. Moreover, the delegates visited the School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) at Johns Hopkins, in which participants from both Japan and SAIS presented and discussed their research. The topics included Japan’s approach to peace-building activities and refugee acceptance, as well as views on the political positioning of Trump administration. The students further extended their friendships through this discussion session, as the SAIS students visited Waseda to participate a special lecture offered by Professor Aiji Tanaka at School of Political Science and Economics a month prior to this session. Furthermore, at the Inter-American Development Bank, the delegates learned about current development issues in Latin America. At the reception party, warmly hosted by the secretary-general of the Japan Special Fund, the participants exchanged their views on possible career paths.
The participants also studied analyses by specialists on Japan-US relationships at the Sasakawa Peace Foundation, the Mansfield Foundation, and the Carnegie Endowment. Additionally, they visited the Associated Press as well as the Japanese American National Memorial with a talk given by Mr. Gerald Yamada. During the stay, they toured the White House, the United States Capitol, Mount Vernon (the former residence of George Washington) and other sites in Washington DC. The delegates fruitfully absorbed new knowledge about Japan and US histories by visiting the public and private sectors as well as the academics in this week-long visit.
Schedule (March 1-6)
White House, Washington Monument, Lincoln memorial
Sasakawa Peace Foundation
Sumitomo Corporation of America
SAIS, Johns Hopkins University (presentation)
Inter-American Development Bank, Reception party
Capitol Hill, Japanese American National Memorial,
Talk by Mr. Gerald Yamada
Rui Asano, doctoral student at the Graduate School of Political Science, Waseda University