Middle and high school students from Fulton County, Georgia recently traveled to Japan on a 10 day trip as part of an exchange program. Ridgeview Charter School students and Japanese language students from Riverwood international Charter School participated in this program in which students were encouraged to develop a deeper understanding of each country and form cross-cultural networks. They toured some Japanese tourist attractions in Tokyo and Kyoto and stayed in Japanese local houses while eating Japanese food. The program was funded by the Japanese government through the Kakehashi Project, which is an exchange student program between Japan and the United States. Only four schools were chosen for this exchange program in total. The Kakehashi Project is driven by the Japan - US Educational Commission and promoted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan.
Official relations between Japan and the state of Georgia were born in 1973, with the establishment of a Georgia State Department of Industry, Trade and Tourism office in Tokyo. There are now 11 sister city relationships between cities in Georgia and Japan. Seven universities in the state have Japanese programs as well. Four elementary school students from Georgia are selected to participate in the cultural exchange program by The Asian-Pacific Children’s Convention in Fukuoka (APCC), as Junior Ambassadors. The Japan America Society liaises between the APCC and the State of Georgia. Teachers from the Japanese Chamber of Commerce of Georgia also went to Japan for the IEJ Program Orientation in May. This program invites US teachers of Japanese to visit Japan to help them better understand Japanese culture and promote closer ties. This program was started in Los Angeles by the Japan Business Association of Southern Californiain 1975.
Yeseul Oh is a Research Intern at the East-West Center in Washington D.C. and an Asan Wahshington Young fellow with the Asan Academy in Seoul. She is a student of Kyunghee university in South Korea