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The Japan-America Student Conference (JASC):
Celebrating Seventy Years

Chapter I: 1934 to 1940: The Early Conferences
Chapter II: 1947 to 1954: A Post-War Recovery
Chapter III: 1964 to 1993: The JASC Tradition Revived
Chapter IV: 1994 to 2003: Technology & Innovation
Chapter V: 2003 to present: The Millennium JASC


Chapter V: 2003 to present

A full day briefing by CINCPAC at Pearl Harbor marked the beginning of the 52nd JASC , which moved on to Chapel Hill, NC, Washington, DC, New York City, and then to the Reischauer Institute at Harvard. JASC Board Member Dr. Robert Reischauer and family member John Westgarth, JASC 45, shared memories of Edwin and Haru's collaboration with the JASC, and delegates visited the Reischauers' former residence in Brookline, which is maintained by Kodansha Publishers.

Overnight stays at two Buddhist temples in Kyoto were on the agenda for JASC 53 , as was the launching of paper lanterns from the banks of Motoyasu River in Hiroshima. In Okinawa, fifty Okinawan university students joined the delegates to address problems facing Okinawa as well as its rich culture. The Conference Forum in Tokyo at the National Olympics Memorial Youth Center included lectures by ToDai savants Shinichi Kitaoka and Kiichi Fujiwara, who addressed such issues as the new middle school history textbook's treatment of the Pacific War, and Yasukuni Shrine's symbolism.

The September 11 terrorist attacks prompted a memorial service in Tokyo. Among the speakers were Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and U.S. Ambassador Howard Baker. Also on the program was Maiko Morishita, the Japan Chair for the 53rd JASC, who urged her listeners "to strive to make a world where different beliefs can coexist peacefully."

Despite lingering concerns as the war on terrorism ratcheted upwards, the 54th JASC convened at Howard University. On the eve of that JASC, the American delegates and JASC alumni gathered at DACOR Bacon House, also home of JASC, Inc. to hear from Ambassador (Ret.) Thomas Pickering, now a Boeing Senior Vice President, on balancing morality with pragmatism in foreign policy. The JASC itself boasted seven Special Topics in addition to the eight Roundtable Topics. These included Film and Animation, Music and Cultural Rhythms, Sports and Recreation, and last but by no means least, Terrorism. On site briefings included the Environmental Protection Agency, the Immigration and Naturalization Service, the Urban Institute, the National Institutes of Health and other DC institutions, as well as panel discussions on U.S.-Japan relations at each site.

At Oberlin College, the 54th JASC commemorated the Reischauer Partnership dating back to the 1960s. Both Haru and Edwin have passed on, but son Robert has been a JASC Board Member for the past four years. His father graduated from Oberlin in 1931. Following a brief but substantive stint at the UC Berkeley, a highlight of the 54th JASC's UC San Diego stay, was home hospitality offered by area families through the Japan Society of San Diego and Tijuana and a visit to Cetys University in Mexico.

The 55th JASC was held in Tokyo, Okinawa, Fukui, and Kyoto with American Orientation at the University of Washington in Seattle, where the JASC began attracting delegates for the very first Conference in 1934. Fukui hosted farming & homestay experiences and a JASC-Okinawan Student Discussion was held while in Okinawa, as well as a Japan-Korea-U.S. Student Discussion in Kyoto.

The 56th JASC marks the watershed 70th Anniversary of the founding of the JASC. Special events are being planned for both the delegation and JASC alums from across the globe in Hawaii, Washington, DC, and Princeton. Jack Shellenberger's ten year JASC, Inc. Presidency comes to a close, succeeded by Ambassador William Clark, Jr.

JASC Innovations of this Decade:

• Volunteer Community Service days held during each JASC to benefit seniors, youngsters, low cost housing and other such projects. Collaboration with Habitat for Humanity draws attention to "The House that JASC Built."

• Ongoing Endowment Endeavor established for alumni contributions for perpetuating the JASC, co-chaired by the Ambassadors to the U.S. and Japan respectively. Highlights included Alumni Giving by Decades.

• Compilation in the JASC archive of ALL JASC Bulletins, student authored summaries of proceedings, since 1934.

• American and Japanese Student Executive Committee members use e-mail for communication, which exponentially enhances their planning capability and relationship.

• JASC office computerized for administrative efficiency.

• Corporate and Alumni Mentor Program established with American Chamber of Commerce in Japan for internships and job opportunities for students.

• Promotional and recruitment video produced in 1994 on the 45th JASC, and continuously updated to include scenes from later Conferences.

• Boeing Company offered to match JASC alumni gifts over $10,000 up to $10,000 and hosts the AEC's annual American Delegate selection meeting at its Missouri Leadership Training Center.

• JASC, Inc. created its website on the internet with link to Japanese JASC site and an e-mail address is established. Brochures and applications are available on the website, as well as alumni updates and contributions by credit card on the website.

• Bi-annual alumni directories were introduced as was the spring and fall JASC Journal or Newsletter.

• Alumni Planned Giving program established for alumni estate planning.

• JASC archival collection was catalogued at the University of MD, College Park.

• Conference Correspondent for each JASC was established to maintain contact with fellow delegates.

• First official "Alumni Chapter" formed in New York City with plans for the first AEC reporting forum for fall 2003 in New York City.