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Acting locally, thinking globally

Sep 01, 2021

A mere mention of Japan conjures up images of its sprawling, densely populated, ultramodern urban centers, like Tokyo and Osaka. Apart from those well-known hubs, the country boasts other regions and cities that play an important part in the country’s development and its engagement with the wider world.

University of Nagasaki has contributed to efforts to strengthen Japan’s links with the rest of the world. It was among the first universities in the country to set up an information security department, which has since attracted the attention of Japanese multinationals like Fujitsu.

“Because of positive reviews and a growing demand for its graduates from several other companies, the Department of Information Security has doubled its enrollment for its courses in the field this year. Other initiatives of the university include partnerships with local and international organizations, like lectures arranged by the Department of International Management, which aims to provide students with a more globalized outlook. One lecture, delivered by the U.S. chief consul, was so popular we had to also broadcast it online because the venue could not accommodate all the participants,” said University of Nagasaki President Tsutomu Kimura.

The lecture series, Kimura added, has also encouraged a significant number of students to seek further studies in the United States and thus prompted him to eagerly widen its U.S. partnerships.

In Yamanashi prefecture, Tsuru University has built strong partnerships with the local government and the community. The prefecture is the largest local producer of grapes, plums, peaches, and wines in Japan, as well as a major source of bottled mineral water. The university, located at the foot of Mt. Fuji, maintains a particularly distinguished record in teacher education.

“Our university was founded and continues to be supported by the city of Tsuru. As a public institution, we value regionality, internationality, and a distinctive learning environment extremely highly. The university’s Regional Exchange Center provides many educational, cultural and sports programs for the people of the community, also promoting and managing regular field work initiatives,” said Tsuru University President Hidenori Fujita.

“Exchange programs are also critical. They help us improve our students’ cultural knowledge and sensitivity, and allow them to open up their future. We want to use our resources to develop both our university and our city. These efforts will consequently benefit the university, local communities, society and the world,” Fujita added.

Located in the subtropical region of Japan, Okinawa boasts of a rich history and distinct qualities that no other part of the country holds. Sharing similar characteristics to Pacific islands like, Hawaii, the Ryuku islands play an important position in international collaboration and knowledge exchange regarding the preservation of local ecosystems.

“In the country, our university is ranked 6th in the promotion of the preservation of underwater life, aside from being classified No. 1 in the promotion of quality education This is quite significant as it certainly shows our strength in being able to give back and develop the local community,” said University of the Ryukyus President Mutsumi Nishida.

With its reputation as an excellent research institute, the university not only commits its efforts towards academics, but also caters to the revival of local heritage sites such as the Shurijo Castle.

“The castle was burned down in 2019 and was a cultural icon and symbol of the independence of Okinawa. We wanted to take the initiative to use our expertise and academic network to reconstruct and revive an important part of our history,” Nishida added.

Education in Japan 2021 was prepared for and originally printed in Foreign Affairs magazine.

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