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 was to demonstrate best practices in U.S. local government regarding specific policy issues.    

The Institute of International Education (IIE) managed the 11-day study-tour on behalf of JIAM from 1993. Each study-tour included several days in San Francisco followed by a longer period in leading, medium-sized cities around the United States. Each group visited one “mid-point” city in the U.S. where trainees learned about best practices in U.S. local government. Each group was assigned a different theme and meetings throughout the program addressed these themes. On their return to Japan, each trainee was 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 were also encouraged to participate in various volunteer activities and learn about local culture. Trainees were encouraged to attend optional, cultural activities in the evening in each mid-point host city. In addition, cultural exchange and mutual understanding was 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.