March 22, 1998
Release No. 12-99

CONTACT: Lois Herrmann
PHONE: (202) 619-4365

United States Information Agency- News Release



Washington, D.C.--Cultural and educational leaders from the United States and Japan who met in late February in Okinawa, Japan, agreed to identify digital resources on U.S.-Japan relations over the past 50 years, particularly in the fields of culture and education. This project will benefit scholars, journalists, business representatives, and other professionals interested in bilateral issues. During the 19th biennial plenary session of U.S.-Japan Conference on Cultural and Educational Interchange (CULCON), participants also discussed efforts to increase opportunities for American undergraduates to study in Japan.

CULCON, initiated in 1961 by President John F. Kennedy and Prime Minister Hayato Ikeda, has fostered the cultural and educational underpinnings of the U.S.-Japan bilateral relationship.

Dr. William B. Bader, Associate Director for Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Information Agency, read a message from President Bill Clinton at the Okinawa meeting, commending the achievements of CULCON. Japanese Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi also sent a letter of greetings.

A symposium on "National Identity and Cultural Interchange in the 21st Century" was held in conjunction with the plenary conference session, co-sponsored by the Okinawa Prefectural Government and the International House of Japan. The Governor of Okinawa, Keiichi Inamine, hosted a reception for the conferees. Dr. Bader commented on the significance of Okinawa -- an historic crossroads of commerce and cultures -- as the conference meeting place.

Other members of the U.S. Panel to CULCON include Chairman, Dr. Richard J. Wood, Dean of the Yale Divinity School; Vice Chairman, Glen Fukushima, President, Arthur D. Little (Japan) Inc; Burnill Clark, President and CEO, KCTS TV, Seattle; Lawrence Ellison, Chairman and CEO of the Oracle Corporation; Dr. Carol Gluck, Columbia University; Jeffrey Lepon, Lepon McCarthy White & Holzworth; Thomas McLain, Sidley & Austin; George Takei, actor and writer; Ira Wolf, IJ Associates; Dr. David Longanecker, Assistant Secretary for Post Secondary Education, U.S. Department of Education; and Stanley Roth, Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, U.S. Department of State.

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The United States Information Agency, headed by Acting Director Penn Kemble, is an independent foreign affairs agency within the executive branch that explains and supports U.S. foreign policy and national security interests abroad through a wide range of information programs. The Agency promotes mutual understanding between the United States and other countries through a series of educational and cultural exchange activities.

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