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Japan to invite U.S. students in memory of JET disaster victims

TOKYO, May 30 (AP) – (Kyodo)—Japan will invite 32 U.S. high school students who are studying Japanese for a program in July to study the Japanese language and culture in memory of two American teachers who were killed in the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, Japanese officials said Monday.

In a speech at a symposium in Tokyo, Foreign Minister Takeaki Matsumoto referred to the program intended to nurture people who will serve as a bridge between Japan and the United States in the future. The program is in commemoration of English teachers Taylor Anderson, 24, and Montgomery Dickson, 26, who were taking part in the Japan Exchange and Teaching Program.

Anderson from Virginia and Dickson from Alaska were found dead in the cities of Ishinomaki in Miyagi Prefecture and Rikuzentakata in Iwate Prefecture, respectively.

According to the government-linked Japan Foundation, organizer of the program, the 32 students selected from about 250 applicants in the United States will attend Japanese language lessons, take part in cultural events such as a drum performance and kimono dressing, and have exchanges with Japanese high school students in Osaka.

They will stay at the homes of the Osaka high school students during their stay in Japan on the two-week program. The program will run for five years starting this year, the Japan Foundation said.

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