JUSFC Meet Our Grantees Series: East West Center and the Japan Matters Initiative

March 13, 2017 

In 2014 the Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission awarded an institutional grant to the East-West Center (EWC) in Washington, D.C. to support their Japan Matters for America website project. With JUSFC’s help, EWC created an online platform that houses comprehensive and multi-activity data to showcase Japan’s critical importance to the United States, and vice versa.  Satu Limaye, Director of EWC in Washington, created the Asia Matters for America initiative. Asia Matters for America brings together ideas of innovation, leadership and international understanding of the overall U.S.-Asia relationship, with a deeper focus on ASEAN, South Korea, Australia, China, India, Taiwan and Japan.

“After we completed the initial Asia Matters for America project, we felt the need to dig deeper into Japan because of its important range of relationships at the national, state and local level,” Satu recalls. The Japan Matters for America initiative launched in 2009 with two initial components — a dual-language publication that provided graphics, analysis and data, followed by populating the website with all the research and data.

“We’re very grateful for JUSFC’s generous support toward this effort,” Satu said. “We could not have built this key interactive resource — for policymakers, congressional members and staff, teachers, students and anyone interested in learning about U.S.-Japan relations — without the initial grant.” When Prime Minister Abe addressed a joint session of Congress in 2015, highlighting the strong relationship between both nations, the Japan Matters for America site was mentioned in a “Dear Colleague” letter.

The website is continually updated with stories, blog posts and related news. “This initiative is crucial now more than ever because the entire structure of the discussion has changed,” notes Satu. “One used to ask, ‘why is this important at the macro level?’ Now we answer the question, ‘Why should Americans around the country care about U.S.-Japan relations? Creating this tool allows us to reach far beyond one conference or one report. It’s a sustainable, ongoing resource for credible information and analysis about the importance of the U.S.-Japan relationship that can be used by multiple audiences.”

The East West Center, founded in 1960, works to promote greater understanding among the people of the U.S., Asia and the Pacific through cooperative education, research and  exchange . The EWC oversees eight different divisions, including EWC in Washington.

For more information on the East West Center visit their website, and for more information on the Asia Matters initiative,  follow their Facebook and Twitter accounts. To learn more about JUSFC’s institutional grants and the application process, visit our website here.