2022 KKC Study Tour to Japan

June 20-June 28, 2022

Keizai Koho Center has invited North American Social Studies teachers to Japan since 1980 to promote mutual understanding by offering opportunities to meet with Japanese opinion leaders and representatives of government, corporations and schools.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the program was held online in 2020 and 2021, but this year, four teachers from Massachusetts, Wyoming and California were selected to participate in the program in-person, under strict anti-COVID measures.

The fellows exchanged views on the importance of U.S.-Japan relations and exchange with government and corporate leaders, as well as U.S. Embassy officials in Tokyo. They received lectures about the Japanese economy and changes in the working environment and employment. At the Bank of Japan, they discussed Japan’s monetary policy and at company visits including KDDI, Mitsui Fudosan, Canon and Sony, they had the opportunity to learn about Japan’s corporate efforts to deal with COVID-19, an aging population and the challenges of a carbon-free society.

The fellows visited two schools, Kaetsu-Ariake Junior and Senior High School and Tokyo Metropolitan Koishikawa Secondary Education School. They had a valuable exchange with Japanese students and teachers and even taught a 9th grade World History class. During the weekend, they enjoyed a fruitful meeting with Japanese Social Studies teachers of the Tokyo Metropolitan area and enjoyed a frank discussion of comparing the U.S. and Japanese school systems and their common daily challenges as educators.

The program concluded with a seminar titled “Economic and Social Impact of COVID-19 in the U.S. and Japan” in which some 50 corporate members and guests of Keizai Koho Center participated. Dr. Shumpei Takemori, Senior Fellow of the Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry made a keynote presentation and explained how COVID-19 has affected the Japanese economy and society. His presentation was followed by comments by the four fellows, who shared their views on the impacts of COVID-19 in their schools and local communities. It was revealed that although there are differences in each state, American schools are returning to normal. In the panel discussion, a lively discussion about the social disparities of students in regards to internet access, the importance of digital literacy, how students appreciate going back to school and the positive aspects of in-person classes took place.

The fellows were obliged to check their body temperatures and wear masks everyday and personally experienced the high awareness of the Japanese in preventing the spread of COVID.

After returning to their home country, the fellows will share the knowledge that they gained in Japan with their students and report to the Keizai Koho Center about the lesson plans that they will teach in their classrooms.