JCIE History

JCIE was founded five decades ago on the belief that international exchange and dialogue is critical for peace and security in Asia and the world, and that foreign relations are a public good that must be strengthened through the concerted efforts of private organizations and citizens. JCIE, as a nongovernmental, nonpartisan foreign affairs institute, works with organizations and individuals around the world to  create opportunities for informed policy discussions, research, and collaboration.


In 1970, the Japan Center for International Exchange (JCIE) was established in Tokyo as one of the first independent international affairs institutes in Japan. Its sister organization, JCIE/USA, was launched in New York five years later as an American nonprofit organization.

At the time in Japan, the concept of a nongovernmental institution independent of government or business control becoming active in foreign policy and international political exchange was considered revolutionary. The organization was founded by 34-year old Tadashi Yamamoto, who earlier, during his studies in the United States, had been inspired by the activism and call to duty of John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr., and sought to bring that sense of hope for a more peaceful international order to Japan’s relations with the United States and the world. Yamamoto led JCIE until his death in 2012, growing it into one of the country’s most prominent international affairs institutes.   Read More…

a sampling of JCIE's accomplishments to date

More than 1,300 political leaders
have traveled to date on JCIE’s various exchanges for parliamentarians, parliamentary staff, and state and local legislators.
Many more have participated in JCIE's conferences, roundtables, study missions, and other events.
JCIE’s programs to facilitate international grantmaking
have distributed nearly $20 million to over 650 innovative nonprofits in Japan and other countries—including for relief and recovery efforts after the 2011 disasters in northern Japan.
JCIE’s policy studies
helped make HUMAN SECURITY one of the pillars of Japan’s foreign policy.
JCIE has served as the secretariat
for such high-level governmental commissions as the Prime Minister’s Commission on Japan’s Goals in the 21st Century and the 1st and 2nd US-Japan Wisemen’s Groups, as well as the Korea-Japan Joint Committee for Promoting History Studies.
JCIE’s working group on “Challenges in Global Health and Japan’s Contributions”
was instrumental in keeping global health issues on the 2008 G8 Summit agenda and in shaping the language on global health in the declarations at the 2009 G8 Summit.


1st Shimoda Conference

The Japan Council for International Understanding (JCIU)—the predecessor of JCIE—cosponsors the 1st Japanese-American Assembly (the Shimoda Conference), the first regular private dialogue between senior Japanese and American leaders.  The programs are organized by a young JCIU employee, Tadashi Yamamoto.

Launch of US-Japan Parliamentary Exchange Program

JCIU brings a delegation of seven Congressmen to Japan. The program is now the longest-running parliamentary exchange program between the two countries, having engaged around 300 parliamentarians to date.

JCIE officially established

Tadashi Yamamoto resigns from JCIU to establish the Japan Center for International Exchange (JCIE) in Tokyo.
JCIE assumes responsibility for the Shimoda Conference, parliamentary exchanges, and other JCIU program.

JCIE/USA founded in New York

JCIE creates an independent, nonprofit organization in the US to focus on US-Japan ties.

Established Asian Community Trust

Modeled on community foundations in the United States, the ACT became Japan's first charitable trust based on general fundraising.

1979 and 1983
US-Japan Advisory Commission “Wisemen’s Groups”

Launched by President Jimmy Carter and Prime Minister Masayoshi and again President Reagan and Prime Minister Nakasone, both with JCIE as its secretariat

US Congressional Staff Exchange Program created
1st UK-Japan 2000 Group Conference
100th American travels to Japan on the US-Japan Young Political Leaders Exchange

A program for emerging local legislators and political leaders

Japan 1st Donor Advised Fund

With funding from Levi Strauss & Co., JCIE created a donor advised fund to help Japanese organizations working on HIV/AIDS and social justice

JCIE/USA awarded Foreign Minister’s Commendation

For contributions to US-Japan relations

Friends of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, Japan (FGFJ) created

To encourage Japan's contribution to the battle against the deadly diseases

JCIE Global Health Working Group

Helps shapes the agenda for G8 Toyako Summit

Japan NGO Earthquake Relief & Recovery Fund created to assist in 3/11 recovery

Channels US donations to 40+ Japanese nonprofit organizations

Launch of US-Japan Women Leaders Dialogue

As part of a new program to empower women leaders

1,000th political leader travels on JCIE's US-Japan exchanges
Launch of new program on Healthy Aging in Asia