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City of Sakai's basic policy for internationalization

Sakai's Basic Guidelines for Internationalization

Transforming Sakai into an inclusive and international city

1.The purpose of Sakai's Basic Guidelines for Internationalization

Sakai's historical heritage is rich and varied, including for example the Mozu Tumulus Group with the Nintoku-ryo Tumulus, which ranks among the world's largest imperial mausoleums. The city flourished as a center of international trade during the medieval period, when unique cultural characteristics such as the tea ceremony began to flower. Many traditional industries-including bicycles, rugs and mats, and incense-were born when the inflow of foreign cultural influences interacted with the city's own fertile cultural soil. In modern times the region has continued to introduce culture and technology from overseas sources, leading to the construction of Japan's oldest extant Western-style wooden lighthouse and Western-style mechanized mill as well as to the establishment of private railroads.

Today internationalization has continued in earnest with the opening of the Kansai International Airport. In order to ensure the ongoing development of Sakai, it is necessary to build an energetic community that can create a new culture to complement our proud history and traditions by encouraging the development of the city as a center of human activity that is in tune with the demands of this new age. We must aggressively leverage the energy of the Osaka Bay region, home to facilities such as the Kansai International Airport.

Recognizing these imperatives, the City of Sakai set out in 1993 to encourage the establishment of a comprehensive set of internationalization policies. This effort resulted in the adoption of the City of Sakai's Basic Guidelines for Internationalization, a set of policies designed to encourage the development of the city's international character.

2.Establishing objectives to encourage internationalization

The city established three specific internationalization objectives designed to lead to the creation of an international society by actively encouraging citizen-led exchange programs with overseas cities while working to create a unique community characterized by the continued relevance of history and tradition

  1. 1. Encouraging the development of individuals to meet this age of internationalization
    ---Encouraging individual development---
  2. 2. Creating a city that is committed to international exchange and open to the world
    ---Preparation of fundamental bases---
  3. 3. Developing a range of international exchange programs to link Sakai with the world
    ---Creating opportunities---

Sakai has established these three objectives. The city will implement a variety of policies designed to achieve these objectives in order to encourage both domestic and international exchange; requirements include ensuring its own development as a unique city capable of meeting the demands of this age of internationalization and actively leveraging the energy of the Osaka Bay region, home to facilities such as the Kansai International Airport.

3.Basic direction and policies for encouraging internationalization

1. Encouraging the development of individuals to meet the age of internationalization

In this age of internationalization, it is important to broaden the international perspective that has been fostered by citizen-centered exchange experiences in order to encourage the internationalization of local society and citizen's daily lives. For this reason, Sakai encourages international understanding and respects basic human rights, culture, and customs of foreign residents. The city is committed to encouraging the development of individuals capable of living and working together in an international society.

Key goals

a. Internationalization of citizens' daily lives

 -Encouraging international understanding
 -Raising an awareness of human rights with an international perspective

b. Internationalization of education

 -Enhancing international understanding in education
 -Enhancing the system by which children and students returning to Japan from abroad are accepted

c. Internationalization of the city government

 -Encouraging the creation of programs for internationalization
 -Nurturing the development of city workers capable of dealing with the demands of internationalization

Efforts to encourage the internationalization of citizens' daily lives include the Sakai International Understanding Seminar series, which has been held since 1991 to help the city's residents deepen their understanding of international issues and acquire international awareness. In order to encourage citizen-centered international exchange, the city created a volunteer interpreter program in 1990 as well as a homestay (visit) program in 1994.

To encourage the internationalization of education, the city has created ALT (Assistant Language Teacher) positions while working to provide greater opportunity for children and students to deepen their awareness of international issues through international exchange and other programs focusing on schools and their local communities.

To encourage the internationalization of the city government, Sakai established the Sakai City internal Committee for Promoting internationalization to coordinate internationalization policy throughout the city government. Today Sakai is working to further comprehensive and systematic policies through the work of this Committee. The city has employed coordinators for international relations (CIRs) since 1991 and continues to pursue internationalization throughout the city government.

2. Creating a city that is committed to international exchange and open to the world

In order to meet the demands of this age of internationalization, it is important to develop basic services and city infrastructure, as well as to enhance the city's international exchange programs.

Sakai is working both to develop basic services so that foreigners too can live comfortably and to encourage the development of international exchange programs in the city's new coastal heart and other key urban areas. We are moving forward with town planning that is compatible with the demands of internationalization and working to enhance Sakai's ability to function as a center of international exchange.

Key goals

a. Developing basic services

 -Enhancing basic services
 -Enhancing lifestyle support services

b. Developing city infrastructure

 -Creating an urban area that is compatible with internationalization
 -Enhancing internationalization functions

c. Enhancing exchange functions

 -Developing international exchange functions

Efforts to develop basic services include the city's commitment to providing more lifestyle information to foreigners, for example by creating Lifestyle Information for Foreigners, a magazine that has been published in five languages since 1991. Efforts to develop basic services required by this age of internationalization include the Nakamozu New City Project, the Harbor Light 21 Project (urban renewal in costal areas and development of the west side of Sakai Higashi station), and the Coastal New City Project, which seeks to establish a model multifunctional and composite city. Efforts to enhance internationalization functions include initiatives such as the city's convention policy that seek to bolster information, economic, and international tourism capabilities. Sakai is also advancing its Center of International Exchange Project, a program designed to promote international exchange throughout the Sakai region.

3. Developing a range of international exchange programs to link Sakai with the world

Sakai must work as a city to develop programs that encourage international cooperation, such as the city's large number of citizen-centered international exchange programs. In keeping with this imperative, Sakai is working to encourage a range of exchange activities with sister and friendship cities as well as other overseas cities. In addition to seeking to contribute to world peace, working toward international cooperation, and contributing to international society, Sakai is hard at work developing international exchange programs that focus on private individuals, academia, industry, and government.

Key goals

a. Encouraging international exchange

 -Encouraging international exchange
 -Developing programs to encourage international exchange

b. Contributing to international society

 -Educating citizens about world peace
 -Encouraging international cooperation

Efforts to encourage international exchange include the establishment in February 1994 of a sister city relationship with Wellington, the capital of New Zealand. Currently Sakai is also pursuing sister city relationships including cultural, sports, and youth exchanges with Berkeley, U.S.A, and Lianyungang in the People's Republic of China.

Sakai is also working to increase cultural exchanges and strengthen ties with Portugal and the Netherlands, two nations with which the city has had historically close relationships. Sakai is also pursuing broad exchanges of friendship with other international cities and encouraging exchange programs in a variety of fields and through its Friendship Network, which promotes human exchanges. The fact that 40 private international exchange groups are currently involved in a wide range of exchange programs demonstrates the extent of the city's efforts to promote international exchange throughout the region.

Sakai's intention to contribute to international society is reflected in its declaration of its commitment to protect human rights and work for peace in a world that is free of nuclear weapons. To place these declarations into practice, the city has established the Museum of Peace and Human Rights inside the Sakai City Culture and Education Center and is pursuing educational initiatives related to the issues of peace and human rights. To support exchange students, Sakai is working with the Osaka Prefectural Exchange Student Center, located in the city. The city also established the Conference of Coordinators for University Exchange Students in Sakai in 1994 as part of its efforts to strengthen partnerships with universities in the city and enhance relevant policies.

*The complete text of Sakai's Basic Guidelines for Internationalization is available for viewing at the City administrative Information Center, the City administrative Information Corner, and city libraries.


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