US first lady Michelle Obama on 19 March called for a united effort by the US and Japanese administrations to push for education of young women over the world.
Obama, on her three-day trip to Japan, announced the expansion of the US initiative Let Girls Learn, in a joint speech with Japanese first lady Akie Abe in Tokyo.
"We all know that the problem here isn't just about the infrastructure and resources. It's also about attitudes and beliefs. It's about whether fathers and mothers think their daughters are as worthy of an education as their sons," she said.
The initiative, launched last summer through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), aims to reduce the number of girls – 62 million worldwide - who do not attend school.
The effort under Let Girls Learn initiative will use the 7,000-member Peace Corps volunteer program to help expand access for schooling for girls, especially for teenagers.
"With this new partnership between our two nations we are issuing a call to action to nations around the world. In the coming months and years we will be reaching out to world leaders and asking them to deepen their commitment to girls' education," Obama said.
Obama is scheduled to meet Japanese Emperor Akihito and the Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Thursday afternoon.
She will visit Japan's ancient capital Kyoto on 20 March before she departs for Cambodia, one of the 11 countries targeted by the Peace Corp initiative during the programme's first year.