U.S. alumni call for continuation of Japan’s JET program

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U.S. alumni of the Japan Exchange and Teaching Program on Sunday called on the Japanese government to continue its international exchange and teaching program, now under review for spending cuts, saying it is essential for mutual understanding between the two countries.

In a press release issued after its three-day annual meeting in New York, the Japan Exchange and Teaching Alumni Association of the United States said, ”At the end of the National Conference, JETAAUSA came to the conclusion that the JET Program and JETAA are crucial to Japan’s international outreach and to increasing mutual understanding between Japan and the United States.”

 ”JETAAUSA hopes that upon review the Japanese government will rediscover the necessity and value of the JET Program and JETTAA,” the release said. The release also said U.S. alumni of the JET Program are working as a bridge between Japan and the United States to promote mutual understanding. Some alumni also continue to make an impact at the grassroots level in Japan, including Anthony Bianchi, a city assembly member in Inuyama, Aichi Prefecture, and Toby Weymiller, who is currently building an environmentally sustainable cafe in Hokkaido.

More than 40 people from 19 chapters across the United States participated in the national conference, with Japanese Ambassador to the United States Ichiro Fujisaki and Shinichi Nishimiya, ambassador and consul general of Japan in New York, invited as guest speakers.
Some 54,000 people have participated in the JET Program since its inception in 1987. About half are Americans. The JETAA is an organization created in 1989 to strengthen and maintain the bonds of f r iendship developed between JET Program participants and their respective home countries.