Each year , in collaboration with major funders and partners, NAJAS offers Japan-related program series to its 38 member Japan-America Societies to help them in their mission of promoting ties between Japanese and Americans at the local level. Covering many aspects of the bilateral relationship, these programs are offered on a competitive basis to our members, making them national series. These programs are:
In 2019, NAJAS inaugurated the "Japan Currents" public affairs series, with support from the Embassy of Japan in Washington DC. The series involved events in fourteen different cities, each hosted by local Japan-America Society, and composed of speakers from Japan, the U.S. and the local community. Public affairs topics of interest relating to Japan vary by location.
Geostrategy in the Grassroots
In 2019, SPF and NAJAS decided to partner on a new public affairs program focusing on the geostrategic challenges Japan and the US face in a changing Asia. A rising China, North Korea and the re-emergence of Russia, among others, present new challenges to both countries, at a time when the US is reconsidering its global engagement. SPF and NAJAS feel that this series is an important contribution to understanding of the alliance, especially when undertaken outside Washington DC.
NAJAS and the Keizai Koho Center have teamed up to offer the NAJAS/KKC Business Speaker Series through our member Japan-America Societies. Funded by the Keidanren, KKC's parent organization, this series combines a senior executive from a Japanese corporation and a recognized Japan expert in a public presentation hosted by a JAS. In their presentations, the senior executives have described the business climate and the impact of their companies' investment in the United States.
Developed in collaboration with the America Chamber of Commerce in Japan (ACCJ) in 2020, this series complements the NAJAS/KKC Business Speaker series by offering leaders of American companies in Japan the opportunity to describe their Japanese business and its role in the global corporation.
Begun in 2015 with the Sasakawa Peace Foundation USA, with funding from The Embassy of Japan in Washington DC, JUMP offers Japan-America Societies the opportunity to recognize the service of Americans in the U.S. armed forces in Japan, the largest group of Americans to have lived in Japan. Events are designed and implemented by the host JAS, taking advantage of local military installations and connections.
NAJAS is pleased to continue for a second year a program funded by the United States-Japan Foundation which avails of high resolution digital reproduction technologies paired with authentic settings produced in time-honored ways to offer unprecedented access to important Japanese artworks to general audiences. In cooperation with the Kyoto Culture Association and Canon Inc., NAJAS is offering several talks by conservators and curators hosted by the Japan-America Societies in the second half of 2024. The artworks have been selected from the image archive of Canon's "Tsuzuri" Cultural Heritage Inheritance Project. The project aims to broaden exposure to Japan traditional art while provoking thought about the intersections of fine artistry and cutting-edge technology...as well as about ownership, access and "place" of art treasures and cultural patrimony. In 2023 lectures were held in Atlanta, Lawrence (KS), Detroit and Houston.
We are pleased to report the launching of the US-Japan Future Forum. The US-Japan relationship has often been characterized as the most important bilateral relationship for the United States. In order to assure the future vitality and continuity of the US-Japan relationship, it is necessary to foster future US leaders who will sustain and continue to expand this important bilateral partnership. NAJAS has decided to sponsor the Future Forum for this purpose.
NAJAS acts as U.S. administrator for three long-standing Japan-based exchange programs, each offering a unique opportunity for Americans and Japanese to meet, learn and develop friendships.
Organized by the Keizai Koho Center annually since 1980, the Fellowship offers a ten-day study tour in Japan for American high school and middle school teachers. The teachers are selected from a national pool of applicants and are expected to produce lesson plans for their classes after they return . To be eligible, this must be the teachers’ first trips to Japan.
Funded by American International Group and The Freeman Foundation and operated annually since 1987, High School Diplomats offers American and Japanese high school students 10-day summer programs in both countries each summer.
Organized annually since 1991 by The John Manjiro-Whitfield Commemorative Center for International Exchange in Japan and the U.S. (CIE and CIS-U.S.), the Summits are a homestay-based exchange program open to persons of all ages. The host sites alternate between the U.S. and Japan. In the U.S., host organizations are local Japan-America Societies. Over 50,000 Americans and Japanese have participated in the Summits, making it the largest continuous private bilateral exchange program.
This signature event allows JAS leaders to meet one another in person and welcome new members, as well as to interact with funders, supporters and prospective partners from kindred communities. Typically, one day of our meeting showcases invited outside guests who inform our members about geostrategic, political, and other issues affecting the U.S-Japan bilateral relationship. On a second day we select important operating issues JAS leaders face and organize workshops for members, thanks to the generous funding of the Japan Foundation New York Office, whose leaders actively participate in the workshops.
We also conduct our annual meeting of a 48-member board. The meeting moves across the membership, with recent hosts including Toronto, Seattle, Cincinatti, New York, and Columbus. A short report on our last meeting can be found HERE.
Over August 21-23, 2024 we eagerly await our gathering in dynamic Portland, hosted by JAS Oregon. Notably, in alternating years, our NAJAS leadership conducts the "International Symposium," which brings many of our members together with selected counterpart societies located across Japan and also focused on bilateral ties. The meetings alternate between the United States and Japan, in the "home years," coincide with our Annual Meeting. In 2022 we met in Kyoto; in 2024 Amb. Fujisaki and our America-Japan Society friends join us in Portland.