Prime Minister of Japan, H.E. Shinzo Abe received about 80 university students from ASEAN as the first batch of JENESYS 2.0 (Japan-East Asia Network of Exchange for Students and Youths) programme, this week in Japan.

Representing the ASEAN youth, Ms. Leanne Marie Torrato captured aptly the spirit of the programme by stating, “Through this program, we hope to learn new and innovative economic policy ideas through exploring the fields of social sciences, culture and arts, and science and technology. We hope that we can find new ways to improve trade and diplomatic relations between our countries. Some people may say that these expectations are a bit ambitious. But the ASEAN youth now are more empowered than ever. And when we become our country’s leaders someday, we will see that these things we learn in JENESYS will be carried out for the benefit of the entire ASEAN community.”

The participants are divided into three groups to visit Chubu, Kansai, and Kyushu areas to observe Japan’s cutting-edge high technologies and its support for local industries as well as creative industries, experience Japan’s traditional culture, and communicate with the local Japanese people.

JENESYS is a key platform for youth exchange between ASEAN and Japan. The original programme was successfully conducted in 2007 – 2012, bringing more than 13,500 ASEAN youth to Japan. JENESYS 2.0, launched this year when PM Abe visited Jakarta in January 2013, will invite 10,000 ASEAN youth to visit Japan.