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You will now be introduced to former U.S. Ambassador to Japan John Roos, an American who has served as an important bridge between the United States and Japan. He was the first U.S. representative to attend the annual Hiroshima Peace Memorial Ceremony on August 6, 2010. The purpose of the ceremony is to console the victims of the atomic bomb and to pray for world peace. He also helped create the Tomodachi Initiative, a public-private partnership, to promote cross-cultural exchanges and leadership training after the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011. Below are questions to keep in mind as you watch the video above.

  1. What are some key ways that Ambassador Roos has contributed to U.S.–Japan relations?

  2. What does he feel are key areas of focus in the U.S.–Japan relationship?

  3. What importance does he place upon youth in the U.S.–Japan relationship?


  4. Ambassador Roos reflected upon how two countries (the United States and Japan) that were once bitter enemies in World War II have become such close friends and allies. Share your thoughts on this. Have you experienced an occasion when a disagreement or argument with someone has evolved into a friendship?

  5. Ambassador Roos referred to himself as a “steward” of the relationship between the United States and Japan. How have you been a “steward” of the relationship between people, organizations, or countries?

  6. Ambassador Roos discusses ways that the United States has helped Japan following the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami. What are some ways that you have helped people or organizations following a challenging event?

After viewing the video, discuss the questions above. Then continue by discussing the questions below, which broaden the discussion beyond U.S.–Japan relations.


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U.S. Ambassador to Japan John Roos visits disaster victims at an emergency shelter in Ishinomaki, near Sendai, Japan, on March 23, 2011.

State Department photo. Source: Flickr

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U.S. Ambassador John Roos and family at Meiji Shrine, Tokyo.

Courtesy of Roos family

Next Up:



Follow Secretary Mineta to Japan as he navigates the land of his ancestry with the land of his birth.



Draw upon your new knowledge to assess the overall state of contemporary U.S.–Japan relations.



Watch students discuss their role in U.S.–Japan relations.

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