KIZUNA Project Long Term Program participants, with Researcher/Adviser Mr. Shinichiro Kato of the Embassy of Japan, together with Mrs. Elizabeth Eduave, AFS National Director, and Ms. Tisha Lee Eduave, AFS Programs Manager
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Government of Japan continues its youth exchange programs with the Youth-Exchange Project with Asia-Oceania and North America , or the KIZUNA Project . The Kizuna Project, the word kizuna meaning “bonds”, will invite more than 10,000 youths from the Asian/Oceanian regions to have an opportunity to participate in specially designed programs. The project was approved by the Japanese Diet as a part of the third supplementary budget in November 2011, and will be implemented by the end of March 2013. In the Philippines, a total of 285 Filipinos will be invited under the different programs of the Kizuna Project.
Three Filipino high school students are leaving for Japan on August 23, 2012 under the KIZUNA Project Long Term Program , which is one of KIZUNA Project program categories. This particular program was coordinated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Government of Japan through the cooperation of the American Field Service (AFS) Intercultural Programs in the Philippines.
The three students, namely Sheila Mae de Sagun (Makati Science High School), Karina Parreno (University of St. La Salle Bacolod) and Joshua David Villanueva (Makati Science High School), will attend high school classes in Shouin Senior High School, Yokohama Futuba Senior High School, Hokuryo Senior High School, respectively, for a six-month period.
During their stay in Japan, the students will be hosted by local families. As part of their KIZUNA Project participation, they will also be visiting the Tohoku region affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake three times during their stay in Japan to observe reconstruction in the area. Aside from this, the students will visit historical and cultural sites in Japan. All these activities aim to deepen the students' understanding on Japanese culture, society, education, and politics.
A pre-departure seminar was organized by the AFS Intercultural Program on August 15, 2012 to orient the participants on what to expect during their stay in Japan. The Japan Information and Culture Center (JICC) was present to deliver a short lecture on Japanese culture and to answer questions from both the students and parents present.
The Youth Exchange Project with Asia-Oceania and North America or the KIZUNA Project aims to invite youth from other countries to Japan, in the wake of the Great East Japan Earthquake that occurred on March 11, 2011. The program will allow the participants to experience first-hand the efforts underway at disaster sites that are dynamically engaged in recovery initiatives, and to promote better understanding on the reconstruction in Japan. All expenses incurred during the program will be borne by the Government of Japan.