September, 2014: Breeze Issue #83

A Free Monthly E-Newsletter for Friends of Japan & Teachers of Japanese

J-LEAP: A Program Born of the Japan-U.S. Summit
Nine Young Native Japanese Language Teachers Dispatched to the United States

The Japan Foundation dispatched nine additional native Japanese assistant teachers (ATs) to K-12 institutions offering Japanese language courses in eight cities across the United States. They will be assigned there for two years on the Japanese Language Education Assistant Program (J-LEAP) until the end of July 2016.

Now in its fourth year, J-LEAP is a program which was launched by the Japan Foundation in 2011 as part of an initiative to strengthen US-Japan exchange programs for young people. J-LEAP was proposed during the Japan-U.S. summit in November 2010 between former Prime Minister Naoto Kan and President Barack Obama.  With Japanese language education programs expanding across the United States, ATs will assist with Japanese language classes for a maximum of two years, under the guidance of supervising teachers. It is like an American version of the JET Program ATs will actively promote understanding of Japanese culture and society in their host institutions and communities.

After arriving in Los Angeles on July 27th, the nine ATs participated in an orientation program until August 1st, and then departed for their respective host institutions on August 2nd.  During the orientation, the AT’s were joined by their lead Japanese language teacher from their host institutions, as well as 11 TAs that are now entering their second year of J-LEAP along with their lead Japanese language teachers. 

At the send-off reception for the new AT’s, they received encouraging words from Vice Consul Ms. Taeko Yamada of the Consulate-General of Japan in Los Angeles.  Mr. Tomoki Nodo (New Assistant Teacher in Washington) expressed his inaugural ambitions,
“My former teacher told me if you want to survive your life as a Japanese teacher, you have to be prepared for a path of greater resistance. I have realized that we all have common feelings of anxiety and a strong aim for these 2 years. We will do our very best to fulfil our own goal and expand the Japanese Education here in United States.”

We will be publishing reports from two ATs every month in Breeze, starting in October, so please come back to share their experiences.