From the Editor

Dear readers,

Spring is in the air, and it was lovely to be in Japan for the hanami (cherry blossom viewing) season.

Embassy Press Officer David Marks

Children are the treasure and future of our nations and the world. Properly educating, protecting, and caring for them so that they blossom and grow strong is a concern not only of families but of society. In our Spring issue, we continue Scott Hansen’s article on trafficking in persons in "Japan's Fight Against Modern-Day Slavery, Part II". This part includes discussion of the problem of child pornography, a violent crime affecting small children that is the very worst form of human trafficking.

Continuing the theme of protecting children, we interviewed Dr. Dorothy Espelage, a professor who is at the forefront of international research on bullying in schools. The sad results of victimization through bullying are known in both our countries, and the importance of developing programs to prevent bullying in schools is becoming more widely understood. Dr. Espelage emphasizes that children perform better academically if they feel safe in school.

Volunteerism is an important part of the national character of the United States, and charitable works and charitable contributions that benefit children and others less empowered are widespread throughout our society. In this issue, we look at government encouragement of volunteer efforts through an overview article by State Department staff writer Michael Jay Friedman. We then give a personal sampling of volunteer efforts engaged in by our own Embassy personnel.

I hope that you had an opportunity to reflect on the beauty of the sakura this season and that you may also reflect on some of the issues raised in this issue of "American View."