Getting vital information to everyone, in a way that’s easy to understand: this is maybe the most important challenge with international residents.
In this past year, Oshu City has made a big leap forward in meeting this challenge with a new “Life Support Guidebook for Foreigners.” This 11-page guidebook was made by Oshu City and Oshu International Relations Association, with the content reviewed by the Oshu Police Station.

What makes it special?

The Content

The guidebook covers the basics for what international residents need to stay safe: how to use emergency phone numbers, what to do in an earthquake, traffic safety, and information on medical interpretation services. It outlines the main parts of living in Japan that can be confusing, like how to move in and out, utilities, and garbage/recycling collection. It also devotes a page and a half to various sources of further information and places for consultation.

The Languages

The guidebooks have been produced in eight languages: easy Japanese, English, simplified Chinese, traditional Chinese, Korean, Tagalog, Indonesian and Vietnamese. This range of languages reflects the international population living in/moving to Oshu now, and helps more people get important information for their daily life in their native language.

The Distribution Method

Just as important as the content is how it is distributed. Every new resident (or a representative) needs to come to the Citizen Services Division of city hall when they move in, and the Citizen Services Division will give this guidebook to every new international resident as they move in. This should ensure a better reach to all new international residents, without exceptions.

I asked Saori Takahashi of Oshu City Community Development Division what they were most proud of with this guidebook: “First, we’re happy to have the Oshu Police Station’s cooperation in making the guidebook. They gave a lot of support for the content on traffic rules and safety. Also, the guidebook has a lot of practical information and places for consultation that will be useful for living here in Oshu. The manual is concise and compact, so it’s easy to store and carry around.”

Interested in seeing what the Life Support Guidebook for Foreigners looks like? You can see the online version for each language at Oshu International Relations Association’s website at




この課題解決のため、今年、岩手県奥州市は1つの事業を実施しました。 ――  新しく発行した「外国人のための生活支援ガイドブック」です。この11ページのガイドブックは、奥州警察署の監修のもと、奥州市と奥州市国際交流協会が作成したものです。