The AOC has announced a full Australian Olympic Connect programme in 2021 to link up with Japanese students before Tokyo 2020 ©AOC

The Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) has announced 12,000 Australian and Japanese students will be brought together by the Australian Olympic Connect 2021 programme.

The AOC launched a pilot programme last year in the build-up to Tokyo 2020, with the Olympic and Paralympic Games then being postponed to 2021.

A total of 40 schools participated in the pilot programme.

The AOC revealed in November that more than 1,500 students from 40 schools across the two countries shared their experiences, culture and anticipation for Tokyo 2020 in the pilot.

The pilot has now been extended to a full programme this year, with 200 schools in Australia set to connect with schools from every Japanese prefecture.

The programme was confirmed by AOC President John Coates with the support of Australian Ambassador to Japan, Jan Adams, and Ambassador of Japan to Australia, Shingo Yamagami.

"The Olympic movement unites countries and their people, and international friendship takes on an even more crucial role in the current climate," Coates said.

"After a successful pilot programme in 2020, it is fantastic to see this opportunity being offered to thousands of students from a combined 400 schools in 2021.

"It has been a privilege to work so closely with the Government and people of Japan and to learn so much about Japanese culture.

"I am thrilled that Australian and Japanese students will get to share each other’s rich culture through this programme."

A total of 12,000 Australian and Japanese students will be reached by the programme it is claimed ©AOC
A total of 12,000 Australian and Japanese students will be reached by the programme it is claimed ©AOC

The programme has been given the tagline of "Tomodachi", meaning "friendship".

Shared video calls, class projects, Olympic-themed challenges and ongoing bonds between students will feature as part of the programme.

Ambassador Adams said the programme will allow students to learn together and celebrate the Olympic spirit.

"Through the programme, I hope that new ties and relationships will be forged between both our countries," Adams said.

"I really encourage schools to embrace this exciting opportunity to connect our young people and to learn from each other."

The AOC claimed the pilot programme saw 100 per cent of teachers recommend the full rollout in 2021.

The schools reportedly nominated to have their school take part again this year.