Strengthening U.S.-Japan Ties

In a November 2010 dialogue between Japanese Prime Minister Kan and U.S. President Obama, the two leaders expressed a shared vision of strengthened relations through enhanced cultural understanding. Made possible through a partnership between The Japan Foundation and Laurasian Institution, the Japanese Language Education Assistant Program (J-LEAP) was the result.

Investing in Teachers of Japanese

Through Japan-to-America teaching assistantships, J-LEAP nurtures a new generation of qualified teachers of the Japanese language. These young teaching assistants not only serve as native speakers in the U.S. classroom but also add young adult voices to the school and community—strengthening ties between the two countries in the process.

Boosting Japanese Programs

Through their participation, American K-12 schools develop stronger Japanese language programs, promote cultural exchange, and invest in the skills of their language teachers. At the end of the two-year J-LEAP cycle, Lead Teachers are able to create and deliver standards-based unit/lesson plans using backward design, teach in the target language, and effectively assess student performance.

Looking to the Future

Assistant Teachers develop the skills to effectively team-teach, share their understanding of U.S. culture and education back home, and kick off their career with experience and confidence. As for students, the unique learning experience can create a spark that leads to a lifetime of learning. Indeed, the ripple effect of any one school taking the "LEAP" is invariably impressive, important, and something we're always eager to speak with educators about.

Japanese language teachers at J-LEAP

 J LEAP Prospectus1



Two-Year Program Calendar


  • U.S. host site recruitment
  • Assistant Teacher recruitment (Japan)
  • U.S. host site and Lead Teacher applications available

December 1

  • U.S. host site application deadline


  • Japan Foundation and Laurasian Institution review Lead Teacher applications, conduct video interviews online with applicants
  • Japan Foundation and Laurasian Institution conduct in-person interviews with potential Assistant Teachers
  • Selected Assistant Teachers announced


  • Selected U.S. host sites announced
  • U.S host sites review and sign program contracts with Laurasian Institution
  • U.S host sites notified of assigned Assistant Teacher in order to begin host family search


  • Pre-departure orientation for new Assistant Teachers
  • U.S. host site assignments announced to Assistant Teachers
  • Assistant Teachers sign program contract and apply for J-1 exchange visitor visas


  • Lead Teachers submit host family interview form, information sheet, and photos


  • Start/end of program cycle
  • Arrival training for first-year Assistant Teachers and Lead Teachers
  • In-service training for second-year Assistant Teachers and Lead Teachers


  • Laurasian Institution trainer visits first-year sites to observe team teaching and present award to school in honor of J-LEAP acceptance


  • Follow-up training for first-year Assistant Teachers
  • ACTFL Convention (optional)


J-LEAP is made possible through a partnership between Japan Foundation and Laurasian Institution.

Contact Laurasian Institution:
(U.S.) +1 800.721.7474
(Japan) +81-3-3712-6176