• Kyodo


Michelle Obama, the wife of U.S. President Barack Obama, is being invited back to Japan again next year by the Foreign Ministry to discuss issues related to the education of young women.

“There was an invitation for Mrs. Obama to come back and talk more about the issues that she cares about next year,” Susan Markham of the U.S. Agency for International Development said Wednesday.

Michelle Obama visited Japan in March for the first time since she became U.S. first lady and discussed with Akie Abe, wife of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, how better the two countries can cooperate to help improve the education of young women in developing countries.

Markham, the agency’s senior coordinator for gender equality and women’s empowerment, said Japan is a helpful partner in advancing projects aimed at helping the empowerment of women.

The agency and the Japan International Cooperation Agency last month agreed to work together to implement more effectively a U.S. project to help Afghan women get jobs and opportunities in the conflict-torn country.

With the help of JICA, USAID will help train more women as police officers in Afghanistan, Markham said.

“We can help recruit women to be in their training and we can also provide another avenue for work,” Markham said.

Markham attended last month’s symposium in Tokyo in which about 150 people from 40 countries involved in women’s empowerment and gender equality issues took part.

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