Introduction to the Handa
The Handa International Association which had its start after Handa
and Midland, Michigan,
USA became sister cities in 1981, changed into a privately run
organization after October 2003, and is involved in activities lead
mostly by volunteers. In the past 40 years the
relationships with the sister cities of Midland, Michigan, USA, Port
Macquarie, New South Wales, Australia and Xuzhou, Jiangsu, China, with
the assistance of the City of Handa, have continued as touching citizen
level exchanges. Furthermore, accepting foreign visitors in homes,
taking care of visiting groups and student exchanges, using the sister
city relationship as a base, have made possible close relationships
between the citizens of Handa and our guests from abroad.
Through such activities, the projects dedicated to the citizens’ mutual
international understanding and friendly relations have greatly
increased in quantity and quality. Furthermore, The increasing need for
foreigners living in Japan to understand Japanese customs and the need
for mutual understanding with foreign citizens in Japan force us to meet
those needs and take action from now on.
At this time the active organization of the Association, under a board
of directors, is divided into the three committees below:
1. Committee for Promotion of International
understanding and International Exchanges (main assignment is organizing the event of
exchange with foreigners known as “Konnichi-World Festival”.)
2. IT - Public Relations Committee (main
assignment is the publication of the bulletin
four times a year, and keeping the web site
3. Multicultural Symbiosis Promotion Committee (main assignment is to organize Japanese
language class for foreigners in this area, the training of volunteers,
and to manage the day to day relations with foreigners.)
All of the above committees are very active in their respective fields.
Such as written above, the Handa International Association is active in
pursuing the goal achieving friendly relations between Japan and other
nations, accompanied with increased friendly relations and mutual
understanding through cultural, economic or citizen exchanges.
The Handa International Association is supported by grants from the city
and members’ fees. We are asking for the help of as many persons as
possible. And, we also ask for your help or presence as a volunteer.
from the chairman of Handa International Association
Chairman of Handa International Association
Handa International Association had been founded in 1981 when Handa
city had signed the sister city treaty with Midland city in USA. It was
reorganized as non-governmental volunteer organization on October 1,
2003. Since then, almost 18 years have passed.
The friendship which has been cultivated in the sister city relationship
with three cities, i.e. Midland in USA., Port Macquarie in Australia and
Xuzhou in China, for the past 40 years, has been further developed
during these 18 years and has continuously promoted various heart-warming
culture exchange activities at the citizen
The culture exchange opportunities with various countries people such as
an arrangement of home stay for foreign people, taking care of the
delegations to and from overseas, meeting with foreign students, etc,
has been getting increased.
Furthermore, there are approximately 2.9 million foreign residents living in Japan
now. In Aichi prefecture, the population of foreign residents exceeds
3%. Japan has quickly turned to be a country where multi-national people
live together. Foreign people may want to come to Japan for their own
sake. But, it is not the only reason for the increase of the foreign
resident. Japanese society, particularly enterprises, rather wanted
foreign labors to cope with the issue of the decrease of a young
generation and the increase of an old generation.
When Handa International Association was formed, it was the main
activity for the association to assist Handa citizens to understand
globalization and meet foreign people. But, under the current situation
where approximately 4,300 foreign residents are living in Handa, we have
seen a big increase of activities to tackle various issues of multi
culture society and provide a practical solution in addition to the
initial enlightening activity mentioned above.
The association is supported by many volunteers. There are many
volunteers working in Sunday Japanese class. They assist foreign people
to fit into a daily Handa life and improve their Japanese skill for a
better communication with neighbors and colleagues at work place. I am
really grateful to the people who support Handa International
Association including volunteers.
I have to tell you that Handa International
Association has currently a difficult problem to carry out those
activities. The association fund is running out. The subsidiary from
Handa city and a member fee from the association members are the major
source of the association fund. We are trying to reduce expenses by
various ways including reduction of the activities and avoiding wastes.
However, the workload is constantly increased and higher skills are
required for us to deal with difficult problems.
The directors of the association, of course, including me and volunteers
are working without pay. But, I am afraid that the association office
may have to be closed in the future due to a financial reason.
Here is another issue. What we should do as a non governmental
organization? What roles we should play? How much responsibility we
should bear? What should be our future? I would like to hear your
opinions and work on these issues with you.
Under those current situations, we need your opinions to carry out the
activities of Handa International Association this year. We also need to
discuss with you to set the policy for Handa International Association
how to assist Handa citizens on understanding of globalization and multi
culture society. I think it touches a fundamental of Handa International
Please think how Handa city and the life of
Handa citizens will be in the global society in the future. It should be
beneficial for our children who will support our future,
As you see, the activities of Handa International Association are
changing very much and are more complex. We have many problems piled up.
Under this circumstances, I will continue to be assigned as a chairman
of the association.
I will continue to pursue what is the
desirable international culture exchange activity and actively promote
various activities and events with the association members, volunteers
and foreign residents. I would like to ask for your understanding and
support on these matters. I will also ask Handa city government to
provide more assistance on our activities. I will try to increase the
association members. There are still many political and economic
problems in the global society. It must be difficult to solve those
problems. But, I strongly believe that we as a citizen of the earth can
understand each other at the level of a citizen of the earth. In order
to achieve it, I think that the most important thing is for us to
recognize the differences among countries and respect each other. At the
same time, we need to firmly maintain the identity as a Japanese and
have a good common sense and own opinions. Handa International
Association is a small local organization, but, I will continue to
observe the sense of a citizen of the earth.
The chairman of Handa International Association
Handa International Association Head Office
Handashi Fukushi Bunka Kaikan
1-22-1 Kariyado-cho, Handa-shi,
Aichi-ken 475-0918 Japan
Tel: +81-(0)569-26-1929 Fax: +81-(0)569-26-1992