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EDUCATION > English Language

Kono proposes English education program to Okinawa

  • December 3, 2017
  • , Okinawa Times, Ryukyu Shimpo
  • JMH Summary

The Sunday editions of Okinawa Times and Ryukyu Shimpo reported on Foreign Minister Kono’s meeting with Okinawa Governor Onaga and local business and municipality leaders in Naha on Saturday, during which Kono proposed his ministry’s new idea of promoting English education for local students. The Think of Okinawa’s Future in USA (TOFU) project, which includes a plan to send a total of 20 high school and college students to the United States annually, is intended to give local students the opportunity to see Okinawa from outside the prefecture and exchange views with the American people. The project also includes such ideas as supporting local students’ enrollment at American colleges located at U.S. bases in Okinawa and establishing new bilingual elementary and middle schools that will invite students of families of U.S. service members. However, Onaga expressed a cautious view about the project to reporters after the meeting by saying that although the project may be useful in improving local students’ English skills, the people of Okinawa will be hesitate if the presence of U.S. bases is a prerequisite for the proposal. Ryukyu Shimpo wrote that the head of the Okinawa Association of Corporate Executives, who was present at the meeting with Kono, welcomed the idea of establishing a bilingual elementary school. However, Okinawa Times wrote that there is concern that the proposal, which would include the involvement of the U.S. military, could lead to the U.S. military bases’ semi-permanent presence in Okinawa.

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