Foreign Minister wants Okinawan students in DoD schools
The Japanese Foreign Minister has proposed starting a discussion with the US. military about allowing a number of Japanese students in Okinawa to attend DoD schools on U.S. military bases to improve their English skills to prepare them for their studies in the universities.
The idea is to develop human resources with good command of English to support young Okinawans in their university education or get better jobs. Japanese government officials also see the initiative as a way to improve strained relations between the Japanese government and Okinawa Prefecture.
Taro Kono, the foreign minister, is making his first visit to Okinawa this weekend. He is reportedly planning to take up the idea in his separate meetings with Okinawa Governor Takeshi Onaga and Lt. Gen. Lawrence Nicolson, the commander of the Marine Corps on Okinawa, and ask them for help. However, some Okinawan politicians have already criticized the plan claiming it would advance the U.S. bases remaining permanently in Okinawa.
There are two high schools on U.S. bases in Okinawa, in addition to several junior high and elementary schools. Currently, it’s possible for Japanese students to enter these schools if there’s any vacancy, however very few have ever been admitted.