The second "U.S.-Japan Town Hall" held by USJETAA and Sasakawa USA featured a discussion on strengthening people-to-people ties and U.S.-Japan relations through exchange programs recently launched around the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympic Games.
Ms. Niharika Chibber Joe
Associate Executive Director, Japan-United States Friendship Commission (JUSFC)
Program: 2019-2020 US/Japan Creative Artists Fellowship Program
Mr. David Francis
Associate Director, Governmental Relations, United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee
Program: "Thank You, Japan!" Initiative
Dr. Mya Fisher
Director of Education & TOMODACHI Programs, U.S.-Japan Council - DC Office
Program: TOMODACHI-U.S. Embassy Go For Gold Leadership Program
Most Americans watch the Olympic Games in order to cheer on their national team as athletes compete to be the best in the world. The upcoming Tokyo 2020 Olympics will be the fourth time that Japan has hosted the Games, and Tokyo will become the first city in Asia to host the Summer Olympic Games twice. The Tokyo 2020 Olympics will also debut new sporting events including karate, surfing, skateboarding, and sport climbing as well as the return of baseball and softball to the Games.
Yet beyond the glitz of winning gold medals and the celebration of sports, the Olympic Games can often play a powerful role as a bridge between nations and the host country. The Olympics regularly attract hundreds of thousands of tourists and sell more than 6 million tickets annually. Millions of Americans tune in to NBC's Olympic coverage with 19.8 million Americans watching the PyeongChang Olympics during prime time. For the Tokyo Olympics, more than 200,000 people applied to become volunteers with 36% of those applications coming from non-Japanese. With the 2020 Olympics approaching, several organizations in the United States and Japan have recognized this potential for the Olympics to serve as a bridge to strengthen U.S.-Japan relations.
The SPFUSA/USJETAA U.S.-Japan Town Hall will address the potential for exchange of the Olympics and shine a spotlight on several programs launched in 2019 to strengthen people-to-people ties between our countries to harness the goodwill and excitement around the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympic Games. The event will be an engaging virtual and in-person discussion about the potential of these exchange programs to have a positive impact on U.S.-Japan relations and mutual understanding between our two countries.