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18 Municipalities Call for Basic Policies on Education of Foreigners

     The 2006 assembly of the Committee for Localities with a Concentrated Foreigner Population was held in Tokyo on 21 November, which led to the adoption of proposals to the State, including the formulation of basic policies on the education of foreign children. The Committee is composed of 18 municipalities, including Hamamatsu City, Shizuoka Prefecture, and Yokkaichi City, Mie Prefecture, where there are many Japanese-Brazilian residents.
     The Committee was formed by 13 municipalities with a large population of Japanese-Brazilians in 2001, on the initiative of the Mayor of Hamamatsu City. At present, the following 18 municipalities participate in the Committee: Ota City and Oizumi Town, Gifu Prefecture; Ueda City and Iida City, Nagano Prefecture; Ogaki City, Minokamo City and Kani City, Gifu Prefecture; Hamamatsu City, Fuji City, Iwata City and Kosai City, Shizuoka Prefecture; Toyohashi City, Okazaki City, Toyota City and Nishio City, Aichi Prefecture; and Suzuka City, Iga City and Yokkaichi City, Mie Prefecture.
     Many Japanese-Brazilians and other foreigners started to live and work in these industrial cities around 1995, when the amended Immigration Control Act permitted residence of foreigners of Japanese origin. This has resulted in various troubles due to their different lifestyles from those of local people as well as in many challenges, including education of their children.
     The 2006 assembly of the Committee adopted the Yokkaichi Declaration and Proposals[PDF47KB] to the central government. In addition to financial assistance to local municipalities, these documents call for the formulation of basic policies on the education of foreign pupils/students, which should be integrated in the National Course of Curricula and other relevant documents, with the definition of pupils/students who require Japanese instruction. They also demand support for the increase in the number of teachers who speak children's mother tongues as well as for the assignment of counselors at daycare centers and kindergartens, to whom guardians of foreign children can ask for advice concerning their children's daycare and education.
     At the later stage of the assembly, the mayors of 18 municipalities had discussion with the relevant officers of the Cabinet Office as well as the Ministries of General Management, Justice, Education, Foreign Affairs and Health, Labour and Welfare. The Mayor of Yokkaichi City, who served as the chairperson, pointed out, "There is no financial assistance from the central government. The state is lagging behind".

Source:
· "Basic Policies on Education of Foreigners Proposed by 18 Municipalities", Kyodo News, 21 November 2006 [Japanese]
· "Declaration for Development of Foreign Children: Committee for Localities with a Concentrated Foreigner Population", Asahi.com (MYTOWN Shizuoka), 22 November 2006 [Japanese]

See also:
· Committee for Localities with a Concentrated Foreigner Population 2006, Yokkaichi Declaration[PDF 47KB] (Japanese)
· "Committee for Localities with a Concentrated Foreigner Population Adopts Toyota Declaration with Proposals to Relevant Ministries", HURIGHTS OSAKA News in Brief (November 2004) [Japanese]


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