The Department of State announced that the United States and Japan have established a new J-1 Exchange Program – the Japanese Specialist Program. The new program specifically facilitates the exchange of Japanese language and culture specialists to observe U.S. educational methods and to share their knowledge of Japanese educational methods with U.S. colleagues.

The program is expected to expand cultural exchange opportunities and promote long-term mutual understanding and international cooperation with Japan throughout the United States.

The State Department’s J-1 Specialist programs are for experts in a field of specialized knowledge who come to the United States to exchange knowledge with their American counterparts. The maximum duration of these programs is generally one year.

The Japanese Specialist Program is exempted from the usual one-year limitation. These specialists will be able to remain in the United States for up to three years. Placement of the specialists is managed through State Department-designated sponsors who handle the screening and selection of participants. Individuals selected for program receive a form from the sponsor which they use to apply for a visa at a U.S. embassy or consulate.

According to the announcement, the Japanese Specialists “will share their specialized knowledge of Japanese language and education in the United States at community based non-profit organizations, U.S. Government offices, secondary schools or post-secondary academic institutions offering Japanese, and similar types of institutions to increase U.S. local communities’ understanding of Japan, its culture, and language.”

Based on Memorandum of Cooperation between the United States and Japan, this new exchange program with its three-year duration will serve to enhance and strengthen diplomatic ties between the two countries.

If you have any questions about how organizations might make use of this and other J-1 visa programs, please reach out to your Jackson Lewis attorney.