Secretary Clinton Meets the TOMODACHI Generation
July 9, 2012
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton expressed America's commitment to cultivating the future leaders of Japan and the United States at a TOMODACHI Youth Leadership Dialogue on July 8. During the event, Secretary Clinton met with 21 Japanese and American students at the residence of U.S. Ambassador to Japan John V. Roos.
"I feel very positive - optimistic - about the future of Japan because of the young people, your response to the need that your country had, and what you're doing to build a better future," said Secretary Clinton, who was in Japan to attend an international donors' conference for Afghanistan.
Ambassador Roos moderated the youth dialogue, which underscored the importance for both countries of the friendly relations between the people of Japan and America, as well as the ongoing efforts through the TOMODACHI Initiative to provide Japanese young people with the skills, experiences, and opportunities they need to thrive in today's world. The participants included American youth and Japanese students from the Tohoku region, volunteers who worked on disaster relief, and budding business and social entrepreneurs.
"In the world, there are many problems and it is difficult to solve all these problems at once," said Atsuko Arimoto, a high school student from Fukushima Prefecture who is unable to return to her hometown of Okuma because of radiation contamination. "But we can move forward step-by-step. We, the TOMODACHI Generation, will work for the future of Tohoku, Japan, and the world."
Yohei Noji, a native of Fukushima and graduate student in economics at Hitotsubashi University, sought to counter popular perceptions of Japanese young people as too passive and inward looking. "Many of us in the TOMODACHI Generation have great ideas and lots of energy," Noji told Secretary Clinton. "I have many friends who have started student groups and even businesses. But we need to connect with each other and with young people in America and other countries. We need to share our ideas and learn new ones to make our dreams real."
See photos from the TOMODACHI Youth Leadership Dialogue and additional information about TOMODACHI and its many educational, cultural, and entrepreneurial programs: www.usjapantomodachi.org
TOMODACHI is a public-private partnership, led by the United States Government and the U.S.-Japan Council and supported by the Japanese Government, that supports Japan's recovery from the Great East Japan Earthquake and invests in the next generation of Japanese and Americans in ways that strengthen cultural and economic ties and deepen the friendship between the United States and Japan over the long term.