TOMODACHI, SoftBank Announce 2014 Leadership Program

Japanese High Schoolers from Tohoku Will Be Given Opportunity to Study in California

The TOMODACHI Initiative and SoftBank are pleased to announce the “TOMODACHI Summer 2014 SoftBank Leadership Program.” Fully funded by SoftBank, this program will send approximately 100 Japanese high school students from the disaster affected prefectures of Iwate, Miyagi, and Fukushima to the University of California, Berkeley.

The July 21-August 10 program is an intensive three-week course focused on global leadership, development and community service. Participating students will explore methods for strengthening their local communities while gaining a further understanding of American society and culture through homestays, volunteer activities, and exchanges with U.S. high school students. In addition, this program will send a number of professionals from the three prefectures to enable further support for the students’ activities after they return.

This is the third year that TOMODACHI and SoftBank have partnered to offer this program. Many of the students from the past two years are now applying what they learned for the benefit of their home communities.

In recognition of this important program, U.S. Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy stated, “I am delighted that we are partnering with SoftBank to provide a life-changing exchange experience to students from Tohoku for the third year in a row. Connections between the young people of our two countries are what will sustain and strengthen the U.S.-Japan relationship long into the future.”

Masayoshi Son, Chairman and CEO of SoftBank, said, “Visiting the U.S. when I was a high school student and studying in Berkeley changed my life completely. You can change the future by challenging yourself. I sincerely hope that high school students participating in this program will learn about leadership and make the most of their experience in California for their own future and success.”

Interested students are encouraged to apply for this program via the link below. The due date for applications is March 24, 2014. Participants will be finalized in the end May 2014.

Application link:

About The TOMODACHI Initiative

The TOMODACHI Initiative is a public-private partnership, born out of support for Japan’s recovery from the Great East Japan Earthquake. TOMODACHI invests in the next generation of Japanese and American leaders through educational and cultural exchanges as well as leadership programs.

TOMODACHI Initiative website:

TOMODACHI Summer 2012 SoftBank Leadership Program

After participating in the TOMODACHI-SoftBank Leadership Program in 2012, Shota Tabe developed a proposal with fellow students to bolster the local economy of his hometown of Iwaki City in Fukushima Prefecture. The students worked with the Japanese travel agency H.I.S. Co., Ltd. and instituted a unique series of sightseeing tours named TOMOTRA. The series was designed to increase the number of visitors to their home town, Iwaki.

“I learned about leadership during the TOMODACHI-SoftBank program,” Mr. Tabe said. “When I applied those lessons to my hometown, I saw the challenges clearly. Things are difficult now, but we want to turn this dream of a business into a reality.” He added, “During the program in the United States, I learned the importance of working as a team and cooperating with others. When people help each other, we can all become leaders.”


TOMODACHI Summer 2013 SoftBank Leadership Program Movie: