This year marks the 100th anniversary of Japan giving cherry blossom to the U.S. Over the years our predecessors have put their service to improving the friendship between the U.S. and Japan, making these countries indispensible partners in politics, economics, culture, and education.
Unfortunately the world’s economic situation has changed in recent years because of the global economic crisis and China and other emerging markets have been on the rise. There are political ramifications to this change, including many that the U.S. and Japan must face.
In terms of politics, the U.S.-Japan alliance must be reconstructed to meet the changes of the new century. Economic cooperation and the promotion of free trade must also take place. In addition, we must increase cultural exchange through the interaction of people. The number of Japanese students studying abroad in U.S. institutions of higher education is decreasing each year. This suggests that personal relationships, which were the foundation of friendly cross-Pacific relations in the past, are diminishing. There are other efforts of exchange, through anime and pop culture as well as Japanese universities becoming internationalized. A time has come for us to find new possibilities for cultural exchange.
We would like to use this opportunity of the centennial to reconsider what we must do to improve the situation. This seminar will debate the prospects of human and cultural exchange from different perspectives.
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