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Home > Policies & Initiatives: International Exchange > Creating a Multicultural Society

Creating a Multicultural Society

International Residents Living in Shizuoka Prefecture

There are approximately seventy-one thousand international residents from 113 countries currently living in Shizuoka Prefecture as of December 2014. With a total prefectural population approaching 3.8 million, this means that almost one out of every fifty residents is a foreign national. Brazilians represent the largest foreign population in Shizuoka, accounting for 34% of the total. They are followed by the Filipino, Chinese, North and South Korean, and Peruvian populations, in that order. Many residents from Brazil, Peru, and other South American countries are ethnic Japanese. A considerable portion of foreign residents come for academic pursuits; as of May 1, 2014, there are 1,030 international students from thirty-six countries attending colleges and other schools in the prefecture. This list is dominated by students from Asian countries (637 Chinese citizens, followed by 78 Vietnamese citizens and 72 North or South Korean citizens). In addition, approximately 6,200 people come from various Asian countries to take advantage of foreigner training and skilled internship programs.

Multiculturalism in Local Communities

As an area with a high concentration of foreign residents, Shizuoka is committed to ensuring quality of life for people of all nationalities. The prefectural government actively works to promote multiculturalism in order to create a society where all residents, Japanese or international, can understand and get along with each other.

 

As one of its multicultural support initiatives, the prefecture issues information in multiple languages about government services, natural disasters, events, and many other topics through Facebook, Twitter, and radio. It has also published a Simple Japanese version of its earthquake preparedness guidebook, which contains invaluable information such as a list of Japanese words related to natural disasters and advice on what to do in the event of an earthquake. The prefecture also works alongside municipal governments to run disaster preparedness drills for international residents.

 

Another major aim of Shizuoka’s multicultural policy is ensuring educational opportunities for non-Japanese children. Shizuoka’s Guidance Counseling Handbook has been translated into multiple languages to help international residents understand the Japanese education system. In addition, prefectural employees called Coordinators for International Relations (CIRs), hired through the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Programme, offer classes upon request to schools and other educational institutions. The CIRs’ introductions of their home countries provide students with opportunities to learn about cultures other than their own, helping them learn the importance of multiculturalism.

 

What Is the JET Programme?

Since beginning with humble roots in 1987, the JET Programme has expanded to become one of the world’s largest exchange programs, with over 4,700 participants as of July 2015. The JET Programme is run by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications; the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; and the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology and is administered by the Council of Local Authorities for International Relations (CLAIR). The program is comprised of Assistant Language Teachers (ALTs), CIRs, and Sports Education Advisors (SEAs). CIRs are placed all over Japan in prefectural and municipal government organizations, international associations, and boards of education. Shizuoka Prefecture directly employs one CIR each from the United States of America, Brazil, South Korea, and the Philippines.