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International Relations -The Globalization Policy of the City of Hikone-

[2014年3月31日]

International Relations -The Globalization Policy of the City of Hikone-

Current Situation and Future Plans

 Hikone established sister city relations with Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA in 1969 and with Xiangtan, Hunan,China in 1991.Since establishing these agreements, we have been strengthening these relationships through goodwill missions and exchange programs for junior high school students.

 Currently, Hikone is home to over 2,000 international residents. Hikone’s two universities, Shiga University and University of Shiga Prefecture, accept a large number of international students from Asia and the Japan Center for Michigan Universities, founded in 1989, has allowed students from all over the United States to study Japanese language and culture in Hikone. In addition, there are many working residents from South American countries.

 The City of Hikone has taken numerous steps to foster cooperation and aid international residents. The International Exchange Lounge offers books and newspapers in a number of languages and provides a meeting place for Japanese and foreign residents. The city publishes a community newsletter called “Koho HIKONE” in English, Portuguese, and Chinese with the cooperation of citizen groups to provide foreign residents with up-to-date local information. Because many foreign residents often have issues with housing, education, and medical services in Japan, the City of Hikone provides specialized aid services to Portuguese speaking residents and maintains city web pages in English and Portuguese. In order to promote multiculturalism in Hikone “The Council for Hikone Foreign Residents” is held to address the concerns of foreign residents. Additionally, citizens’ groups in Hikone hold various projects, such as Japanese language lessons, to foster international cooperation.

 With the continued globalization of society, the citizens of Hikone have developed a keen international awareness and it is necessary to promote international relations projects to fully address our citizen’s needs. Besides strengthening our sister city relations, we should make Hikone more comfortable for foreign residents. We will make a city where everyone can live peacefully with respect for each other’s culture.

Major International Relations Projects

  • Goodwill missions from Hikone visit Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA and Xiangtan, Hunan, China. Hikone City welcomes goodwill missions from these cities as well.
  • Hikone City operates the International Exchange Lounge, which is on the first floor of the Civic Hall (1-38 Osue-chou). This lounge is open to the public and offers space for conversation and provides books and newspapers in a number of languages. The lounge is open every day except Sundays, Mondays, and national holidays.
  • The Coordinator for International Relations (CIR) provides services for Portuguese speaking residents. The CIR gives consultations, assists in the civic registration process, and holds events to promote international relations.
  • Hikone City actively cooperates and collaborates with citizens’ groups on a variety of projects.
  • The guidebook for living in Hikone called “Living in Hikone” is published in English, Portuguese, and Chinese. This guidebook is composed of three parts: “Daily Life”, “The Administrative Systems and the Procedures”, and “Medical Services.”
  • The City of Hikone has a Portuguese interpreter on Mondays,Tuesdays,Wednesdays,
    Fridays(9時0分~17時15分) and Thursdays(10時30分~19時0分).
  • A community newsletter called “Koho HIKONE” is published in English, Portuguese, and Chinese every month.
  • “The Council for Hikone Foreign Residents” - The first council submitted “Proposals for Promoting a Multicultural Society” to the Mayor on July 1, 2005. Following the guidelines set forth in the proposal, Hikone City drew up the “Plan for the Promotion of a Multicultural Society” in September 2005. The second council, commissioned on September 3, 2005, has met eight times and presented additional proposals to the Mayor in August 2007.
  • “The Meeting for Hikone Foreign Residents” - This group consists of 17 Hikone City officials whose purpose is to improve public services for foreign residents.

Citizens' Projects

Hikone International Friendship Association (HIFA)

  • Hikone junior high school students visit Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA and Xiangtan, Hunan, China.
  • HIFA and Hikone City welcomes junior high school students from Ann Arbor and Xiangtan.
  • HIFA accepts intern students from Calvin College, Michigan, USA.
  • In order to expand international friendship, HIFA established relations with the Hyderabad International Friendship Association in India as well as the People to People International Chunchon in Korea.
  • HIFA holds the following classes and lectures:

 

  • Korean language classes
  • English language classes
  • Japanese language classes for foreign residents
  • Training in English and Japanese translation
  • Training for teaching Japanese
  • Lectures for international communication

 

Japan-China Friendship Association

This association mainly holds a Chinese New Year’s Day celebration and operates a free meeting place in order to deepen the understanding of Chinese culture. 

VOICE

This group translates and edits the community newsletter “Koho HIKONE” into English and Portuguese. They also offer Japanese language classes for foreign residents and organize international exchange events to support people from overseas. 

Grupo IPE

This group helps Brazilian residents adjust to life in this area. They also provide information in Portuguese by “Tem de tudo.”

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