Japan-United States of America Relations
2nd Think of Okinawa’s Future in the United States (TOFU) Program
From March 24 to 26, the 2nd TOFU (Think of Okinawa’s Future in the United States) program participants visited New York and the summary is as follows.
1. Exchanges with local Japanese-American community
On March 24, in the morning, the 2nd TOFU participants attended an exchange meeting with local Japanese-American community and had lunch together. TOFU participants gave presentations on school life in Japan, culture in Okinawa including Okinawan food, tourism resources and natural environment and performed Okinawa Karate. The participants deepened friendship with Japanese-American community through listening to how they or their families came to the United States and life in the United States.
2. Japanese permanent mission to the United Nations
On March 25, in the morning, the 2nd TOFU participants visited the Japanese permanent mission to the United Nations, where they made a courtesy call on Mr. Koro BESSHO, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan to the United Nations and received a briefing from Mr. Yasuhisa Kawamura, Ambassador of Japan to the United Nations for about 40 minutes. The participants actively asked questions about activities to improve maternal and child health, response to emerging challenges such as aging society and widening a gap within one country, and efforts to increase the number of Japanese works at the United Nations.
3. Meeting with a United Nations’ Japanese staff
On March 25th, in the morning, the 2nd TOFU participants had a meeting with Mr. Shigeki KOMATSUBARA, TICAD program advisor, African Affairs Bureau, United Nations Development Program(UNDP). Mr. Komatsubara explained his carrier so far as well as the roles of the United Nations, and gave advice to the participants, in a way they can relate themselves to his story. The participants actively asked questions about the relationship between the UN and member countries and ways of international cooperation that students can do.
4. Courtesy call on Ambassador Caroline Kennedy
On March 25th, in the afternoon, the 2nd TOFU participants made a courtesy call on Ambassador Caroline KENNEDY, former U.S. Ambassador to Japan, and exchanged views for about 70 minutes, with attendance of Ambassador Kanji YAMANOUCHI, Consul General of Japan in New York.
Ambassador Kennedy stated that the future of the U.S.-Japan Alliance, which is the strongest and most important in the world, depends on Okinawa, and was happy to see that the students took time to learn about the Alliance to understand broader picture of the Alliance. She also expressed her hope to see the students make the most of this opportunity for the future. The participants, in response, actively asked many questions, including Ambassador Kennedy’s impression on Okinawa.
In addition, Ambassador Kennedy asked the participants what they would like to request to the U.S., enabling them to engage in close discussion regarding the U.S.-Japan relations. Ambassador Kennedy also stressed the importance of mutual visits and exchanges between youth of Japan and the United States.
5. United Nations Headquarters
On March 25th, in the afternoon, the 2nd TOFU participants visited the U.N. Headquarters building and joined a tour given by a U.N. official to see venues for General Assembly and UN Security Council meetings and learned the history and function of the United Nations.