The country was represented by Edward Parker, Dorisha Kimi, Joryna Pokura, Noelle Puna, Ioana Puna, Mii Kino and Maria Tomsyn in the programme, held from January 26 to February 2.
The exchange programme, dubbed the Japan-East Asia Network of Exchange for Students and Youths (JENESYS) 2017, was set up as a project by the Japan Overseas Cooperative Association (JOCA) to promote mutual understanding and friendly relations between Japan and the Pacific.
The programme was coordinated in conjunction with the University of the South Pacific campus in Fiji for the 14 Pacific Island countries.
Alongside the Cook Islands, Fiji, Samoa, Niue, Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Nauru, Marshall Islands, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu also took part.
Cook Islands delegation member Parker said they thoroughly enjoyed the experience.
He said the views that were shared, the experience of Japanese culture and its value of time and respect for others were just some of the highlights and educational experiences, gained from the exchange.
“The exchange programme schedule was packed with presentations, lectures, site visits, educational tours, universities/high-school visits as well as a home stay where participants got to experience living like Japanese for one night,” Parker said.
“The presentation and lectures on trade, investment and its tourism strategy were very informative as well as inspiring.
“The concepts and methodologies on how trade/investments was conducted inspired new ideas in a few of the participants.”
Networks and bonds formed and it is envisaged future partnership and developments between Japan and the Pacific will continue to be fostered through these young individuals, Parker said.
The participants also had the opportunity to share their experiences and the things they have learnt through various means such as social media, information booths, newsletters and so forth.
“Keep a lookout for them if you’re interested in learning more about the stories and experience of these young people,” Parker said.
The group thanked the Japanese government, JOCA, University of the South Pacific and all those involved in putting together the JENESYS 2017 programme.
“A special thank you as well to our coordinators, translators and supervisors, Hazuki Naito, Ichiro Takada, Yokota, Kensuke Yamanaka, Katsuya Mori, Ravuama Buadromo, Nicholas Manuel, Sapeta Leupena, Yogeeeta Kumar for making this exchange a memorable one.”