By Roy Mabasa
Two groups composed of 42 young Filipino diplomats and high school students will conduct a nine-day diplomatic and cultural exchange program in Japan to cultivate ideas and enrich people-to-people exchange between Japan and the Philippines.
During the pre-departure orientation conducted by the Japan Information and Culture Center (JICC) held on Monday at the Japanese Embassy in Pasay City, the selected young officers and researchers from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Filipino high school students were engaged in a discussion on what to expect during the entire length of the exchange program in Japan.
The Tokyo-funded program is under the Japan-East Asia Network of Exchange for Students and Youths (JENESYS).
JENESYS was initially launched in 2007 to provide youths from Southeast Asia the opportunity to visit Japan and engage in cultural exchanges, lectures, hands-on training, and immersion.
To date, over about 4,000 young students and professionals from the Philippines have already participated in the program.
Former JENESYS participants Martin Julius Perez and Jemimah Joan Villaroel shared their experience and advised the incoming program recipients to cooperate well with their host families.
According to JICC, the young diplomats from the DFA will visit Isahaya City, the host town for Filipino athletes for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games; the historic Nagasaki City to deepen their understanding of local Japanese culture, and the Second Southeast Asia Division of Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to exchange ideas on the Philippines-Japan ties.
On the other hand, the high school students will visit the rehabilitation area of the Great East Japan Earthquake in the Tohoku Region to learn about Disaster Risk Reduction Management, and participate in an interaction session with Japanese university students.
They will also as well as observe traditional and modern Japanese cultural activities to deepen their appreciation of the Japanese culture.