“Leading Asia: Renewing the U.S. and Japan Sister Cities Network,” is a 3-year program funded through a grant award from the Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership (CGP). The overarching objective of this program is to increase the institutional knowledge of U.S. – Japan sister city partnerships by providing opportunities for current programs to become more active and for new relationships to be established. This new program includes exchange funding, program research and conference sessions and webinars that will promote networking, capacity building, and innovative program development for U.S. – Japan partnerships.

Outbound Exchange Funding Opportunity

Sister Cities International is in the process of sending twelve U.S. cities to visit their Japanese sister city to launch programming in the following areas: business development, sustainability, creative economies, and young professional development. The first round of exchanges sent five cites over the past nine months. Below is the list of all the exchange funding recipients and the thematic focus of their exchanges:

2011 Recipients

2012 Recipients

Sebastopol, CA – Sustainable Energy and Agriculture Hot Springs, AR – Business Development
Austin, TX – Music Festival Development Fort Worth, TX – Young Professional Development
Delray Beach, FL – Renewable Energy Resources Tacoma, WA – Creative Economies
Lansing, Michigan – Young Professional Development Rice Lake, WI – Business Development
Minneapolis, MN- Medical Device Industry Exchange Maryland – Business Development
  Lakeland, FL – Business Development
  Springfield, IL – Sustainable Development

Outreach and Research

The main goal of the outreach and research element of the Leading Asia program is to compile best practices from the sister cities network as well as to develop new methods for engaging local business communities and youth in future programming to support sustainable sister city partnerships. Sister Cities International is currently in the process of developing a booklet entitled “Building Sustainable Sister City Partnerships” which outlines the important role that US-Japan sister city partnerships play in the local economies of both countries and ways in which sister city programs can engage local businesses in order to expand their local economic impact.

Conference Sessions and Webinars

A combination of webinars and conference sessions at Sister Cities International‘s national and regional conferences will serve as a way for Sister Cities International to communicate the impact of Leading Asia Exchanges as well as to provide the US-Japan sister city network with greater access to information on best practices for exchanges and new and innovative programming models.

The Leading Asia “Incorporating Business Into Your U.S.-Japan Sister City Relationship” booklet is now available exclusively to our members. Please see the Toolkits & Templates section in the Member Area to access the booklet. (Members need to login to view this page)

JET Alumni Association USA (JETAA-USA)

Sister Cities International and JETAA-USA are actively working together to link JET Alumni with US-Japan sister city organizations in the United States.  The primary goal of this project is to help local JETAA chapters connect and coordinate with their Japanese sister cities/prefectures to grow those relationships and bring value to our counterparts in Japan. Please visit the website above to learn about the JET program and how your sister city organization can link up with JET Alumni in your community! Jet Alumni have years of experience living, working and traveling in Japan and can become new, highly-experienced members of your US-Japan Sister City partnership!