The Japan Intercultural Academy of Municipalities (JIAM) is a Japanese governmental training institute for local civil servants from all regions of Japan and functions of government. The goal of the study-tour is to demonstrate best practices in U.S. local government regarding specific policy issues.

The Institute of International Education (IIE) has been managing the 11-day study-tour on behalf of JIAM since 1993. Each study-tour includes several days in San Francisco followed by a longer period in leading, medium-sized cities in around the United States. Some programs conclude with a wrap-up and debriefing back at the IIE West Coast Center. Between these cities, the group divides into smaller sub-groups of about 10-20 trainees. Each sub-group will visit one “mid-point” city in the U.S. where trainees will learn about best practices in U.S. local government. Each sub-group is assigned a different theme and meetings throughout the program will address these themes. On their return to Japan, each trainee is required to submit a report describing what s/he learned about the theme in the United States.

In addition to the educational program, the trainees are also encouraged to participate in various volunteer activities and learn about local culture. Trainees are encouraged to attend optional, cultural activities in the evening in each mid-point host city. In addition, cultural exchange and mutual understanding is fostered between Japan and the U.S. through a one-evening home hospitality dinner for a first hand look inside an American home and the invaluable opportunity to learn more about American home life.

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