Deliberations begin on how to prepare Iwate’s healthcare and education fields for foreign researchers and their families

The original article was published in the Iwate Nippo (April 24th edition). Read the original here.

In order to prepare Iwate to accept foreign researchers who will come to live here for the ILC, the prefectural government will start discussions with healthcare organizations and municipal boards of education in the 2018 fiscal year. The national government has not yet made a decision to host the ILC, but people will begin to arrive quickly once a decision is made, which is why Iwate is proceeding forth with concrete discussions now.

Many researchers will come to Iwate with their families to work at the ILC, which will present challenges to the two fields of healthcare and education.

Regarding healthcare, the prefecture will be working with the Iwate Doctor’s Association, Dentist’s Association, Pharmacist’s Association, and Nurse’s Association. Their discussions with center around how to implement English-language medical interpreting, and they will search for mechanisms that will reduce stress on both foreign patients and medical professionals.

Regarding education, they predict there will be a number of foreign children who will attend public schools in Iwate. The prefecture will have a dialogue about necessary support measures with not only the prefectural board of education, but the boards of education in the area surrounding the Kitakami site.

Other than that, they will create a guidebook with information on various government procedures/paperwork and advice on life in Japan for foreigners who have arrived in Iwate. It will reflect the lived experiences of foreign residents who are already here.

The national government is still deliberating on whether or not to host the ILC, with their decision based on the deliberations of their Panel of Experts. Up until now, Iwate Prefecture had deliberated on its own ways to prepare the area for the foreign researchers, but now they will get the opinions of organizations on the ground. They will put together a report on the discussions within the fiscal year.

Jun Sasaki, executive director of Iwate Prefecture’s Office of Science and ILC Promotion said “We will build a flexible system for welcoming our foreign guests, and show off that system to the national government. We intend to finish all that needs to be done (on our end) as we wait for the government to make their decision.”