Allow me to begin by expressing my profound thanks to all who offer their support and cooperation to the Japan Intercultural Academy of Municipalities.
I also wish to pray for a speedy recovery for victims of the Great East Japan Earthquake as well as the many areas around the country that were struck by severe natural disasters during the past year.
Now then, as socio-economic internationalization progresses, changes on the world stage have a larger influence on regional societies and economies, meaning that even small localities must be aware of emerging trends in order to quickly take action that fits the era’s demands. Furthermore, with a tremendous volume of information being shared instantaneously around the world, to gather and properly analyze these global reports, international understanding and sensibilities are imperative. Also, so-called ‘Cool Japan’ aspects of the nation’s culture are receiving attention around the world, with many earning a high level of respect. People, goods, skills, and culture from all areas of Japan are being reappraised for their potential value on the global market and at the same time, the world is eagerly awaiting new contributions. In addition, the growing presence of next-door neighbors from foreign countries, nowadays living in local communities, demands that we acknowledge and respect each other’s differences in order to build a sustainable community.
At our training institute, to further raise the competence of municipal personnel shouldering Japan’s public administration at the regional level, rather than approaching international themes in a narrow context, issues related to local government administration, such themes as ‘community building’ and ‘business promotion,’ are aggressively addressed from wider parameters as local initiatives for revitalization.
During the 2016 academic year, ①policy-making skills with a long-term/comprehensive perspective based on precise analysis; ②flexible, open-minded approaches to resolving various issues key to localities’ future development; and③strengthened risk management skills are given special importance throughout the planning and implementation stages of JIAM’s programs. Additionally, in keeping with the needs of municipal governments, not only are new training themes regularly identified but ‘special’ and ‘urgent’ seminars are offered so that municipalities can adapt in a flexible manner to changes in system reform and/or socio-economic trends.
A haiku by Matsuo Basho reads: “Departing spring along with the people of Omi missing it” (Yuku haru wo Omi no hito to oshimikeru) was written by the poet while boating near Karasaki shore. Located alongside Biwako (Japan’s largest lake), at the foot of Mount Hiei (a sacred site for Japanese Buddhism), since long ago Karasaki has served as a gateway for the most advanced culture/technology brought from overseas and then become a center for integrating those concepts into new forms giving birth to modern political concepts and cultural forms.
For thinking from a global perspective and nurturing human resources able to act globally, Karasaki is a most appropriate place. It is hoped that trainees returning to their respective local governments will serve as a driving force in boldly confronting new issues and, to this end, JIAM is committed to making every effort to further human resource development.
Now and hereafter, the Japan Intercultural Academy of Municipalities stands committed to serving all cities, towns, and villages as it fulfills its role as a nation-wide training institute, offering numerous programs in keeping with this ‘changing era.’ It is my sincere hope that all those concerned will actively make use of our programs.
Japan Intercultural Academy of Municipalities