(Senate - March 28, 1996)

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[Page S3151]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]


  Mr. LUGAR. Mr. President, I rise today to discuss an important issue 
in our relationship with Japan. It has come to my attention that for 
every American student studying in Japan, 20 Japanese study in the 
United States. This puts the United States at a comparative 
disadvantage in dealing with issues of economic competitiveness and 
strategic cooperation that confront and will continue to confront our 
bilateral ties for many years.
  Japan possesses the second-most powerful economy in the world. Its 
resources and expertise affect the health and vitality of international 
trade and finance. United States-Japan cooperation and understanding 
will be required if issues pertaining to the global economy, 
development, health, peacekeeping, weapons proliferation, the 
environment, and others are to be addressed constructively. At the same 
time, Japan's economic prowess poses significant challenges to and 
opportunities for improving the economic well-being of the United 
States. We simply must learn how to gain the trust and cooperation of 
the Japanese people, its entrepreneurs, and policy makers. We need to 
do better and be better informed about Japan if we hope to correct the 
nagging imbalance in trade. Historically, we have been ill-prepared for 
this task. We must be better prepared in the future.
  One part of the solution to this problem lies in the education of 
young Americans in the language, culture, and society of Japan. It is 
the young Americans of today who will take the lead in dealing with 
their Japanese peers in a language and style the latter will respect 
and appreciate. Back channel politics has worked well through the 
years, but it is insufficient for the future. We now want to make 
certain there is a very large network of United States students 
studying in Japan that will make a difference in building the kind of 
bridges that are required if our relationship with Japan is to be more 
productive now and in the future.
  Finally, Mr. President, I would like to mention that a coalition of 
public and private organizations is mounting a new program known as the 
Bridging Project to address this need to educate more Americans in and 
about Japan. In a time of fiscal stringency and belt tightening, public 
funds for this and other initiatives are gong to become even more 
scarce. The private sector must get more involved. Private-public 
partnerships and other creative solutions involving the private sector 
will be required if we are going to keep pace with our Japanese 
competitors. We should encourage this coalition to do everything it can 
to ensure that the United States remains competitive with Japan in the