US Embassy Visit Gives JASCers First-hand Diplomatic Experience

Kurt Tong, Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo and alumnus JASC 36 & 37 (1984 & 1985), addresses the delegation.

The JASC 65 delegation visited the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo on August 21st, 2013. The visit was made possible by Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo and JASC 36 & 37 (1984 & 1985) alumnus Kurt Tong and his staff.

JASCers share their ideas on increasing youth exchange between the U.S. and Japan.

Michael Fitzgerald of Florida State University takes notes in the U.S. Bases in Japan discussion group.

JASCers were put to work during the session, breaking off in groups to brainstorm solutions to some of the Embassy’s most important challenges. JASCers were tasked with providing recommendations for four key policy goals, increasing youth exchange between Japan and the U.S., improving relations between U.S. military bases and the communities that house them, controlling regional tensions brought on by differing interpretations of history, and finding a way for Japan to be a part of the trans-pacific partnership while satisfying their agricultural lobby. Each group was facilitated by a U.S. diplomat with experience in the Embassy working on the specific issue. Although solutions were difficult to come by, the JASC delegation was able to gain some diplomatic experience and provide some ideas the diplomats found interesting and valuable. The discussions were followed by a question and answer session with a panel of U.S. diplomats.

Daniel Bateyko of Middlebury College asks a question to the panel of diplomats.

Following the activities at the Embassy, JASCers were invited for a lunch reception at Deputy Chief of Mission Kurt Tong and his wife Mika’s, also an alumna of JASC 36 & 37 (1984 & 1985), residence. In addition to remarks by Mr. Tong, Kristy Holch, Chairman of the ISC Board of Directors and alumna of JASC 38 (1986) also spoke, encouraging JASCers to make the most of their final few days together and to stay in touch after the conference. Many other JASC alumni were in attendance as well as representatives from the Embassy and the TOMODACHI Program. After the reception, JASCers prepared for their discussion with Senator John McCain, which occurred later in the afternoon.

ISC Board Chairman Kristy Holch speaks to the delegates at Kurt and Mika Tong’s residence in Tokyo.

Samuel Hibiki Sekiguchi (left) of Hosei University speaks with high school students who participated in the Softbank Operation Tomodachi Leadership Camp earlier in the summer.

Mika Tong, JASC 36 & 37 (1984 & 1985) shares photos from her JASC that she displays on her piano.


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