Foreign residents’ panel asks city for support

The Kawasaki City Representative Assembly for Foreign Residents, an advisory unit to the mayor, asked for the municipal assembly’s support June 17 for its proposals, including abolition of discrimination against foreign residents in housing.

The advisory panel, which consists of 26 foreigners representing the city’s 20,000 foreign residents, was called to a municipal assembly committee meeting June 17 to report on the results of the discussions made during its meetings since it was formed last December.

At the gathering, Lee In Ha, chairman of the foreigners’ panel, explained its proposals and asked the city assembly for support. Proposals made during fiscal 1996 included making an ordinance to ban discrimination against foreigners, the disabled and the elderly in renting houses.

The group also suggested the city establish a council to deal with the problems of foreign children attending Japanese schools. Lee of South Korea said the proposals were made to provide equality and will result in benefiting Japanese as well, noting that disabled and single mothers are also having difficulties finding housing.

Malgorzata Hosono, the group’s vice chairman, who is from Poland, said, “Having a foreigners’ assembly is just like wearing contact lenses. At first they hurt, but later you can see the world better through them.” In the next meeting, scheduled for later this month, the assembly will discuss such issues as foreign residents’ visa status.