All Volumes (2001-2008)


Volume II, 2002

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In the late 1980s, the Japanese national government proposed a plan to "internationalize" the country – to increase international understanding. This national proposal resulted from the pressures of globalization as well as a mixture of domestic political and economic factors. Through this broad proposal, Japan sought to decentralize and encourage local levels of government to create individual policies for globalizing their communities. It proposed internationalizing business and education, exposing the Japanese people to outside cultures, exposing foreigners to Japan's culture, and increasing the Japanese people's familiarity with English. While the national government provided general suggestions for internationalization (kokusaika), its intent was for the prefectures and cities to create their own policies and programs. We will explore the implementation of Japan's internationalization plan in the Aomori Prefecture, specifically Aomori City, Misawa City, and Hachinohe City. Each plan, despite similar goals, is intentionally highly individual in nature; we will explore their efforts at economic internationalization and cultural internationalization. Due in part to vague goals and a lack of program evaluation, it is hard to assess the success of these internationalization policies. Nonetheless, we will consider progress so far and conclude with suggestions for improving future internationalization efforts.