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SECURITY > Okinawa

LDP to recommend cooperating with USFJ for English education in Okinawa

  • May 25, 2018
  • , Ryukyu Shimpo , p. 2
  • JMH Translation

TOKYO – It was learned on May 24 that a policy recommendation to be presented to the ministries by the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) entitled “On the Future Direction of Okinawa’s Development” includes a proposal on “further improving English language education with the cooperation of U.S. Forces Japan (USFJ).” The LDP plans to have its recommendation reflected in the government’s “Basic Policy on Economic and Fiscal Management and Reform” and include allocations for relevant projects under the Cabinet Office’s Okinawa-related budget. Since this is based on the assumption of the continuing presence of the U.S. bases, even certain LDP officials have pointed out that this “runs counter to the policy of consolidating and reducing the bases.”

 

The Research Commission for the Promotion and Development of Okinawa and other LDP divisions held a joint meeting on May 18 and decided on the outline of the recommendations, including national government assistance for the establishment of the Okinawa health and medical service hub on land vacated by the Nishi-Futenma Housing Area. However, some Diet members participating in the meeting proposed adding the item on English education. As a result, it was decided at a meeting of the Policy Research Council on May 24 to add cooperation with the USFJ on English education in the recommendation. The Research Commission on Okinawa and other LDP bodies will present the recommendation to the concerned ministries shortly.

 

While no concrete projects have been decided at this point, English lessons provided by family members of U.S. military personnel in public schools, exchange programs between local and American schools, and participation in school events are reportedly being considered.

 

House of Councillors member Kuniko Inoguchi, the research commission chair who initiated the inclusion of the proposal, stated: “The bases are not just a handicap; they also offer opportunities for the children. This may also help to promote understanding of Japanese society among U.S. military personnel.”

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