350 foreign students join 'Japan Tent' program


About 350 foreigners currently studying in Japan gathered here Friday for an eight-day exchange program to learn firsthand about the country’s customs and culture and stay with Japanese families.

The 13th annual “Japan Tent” program will begin in the afternoon with opening addresses by Ishikawa Gov. Masanori Tanimoto and Hidekazu Tobita, president of the local daily Hokkoku Shimbun, one of the event’s sponsors, organizers said.

Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori, who hails from the prefecture, is also to deliver a videotaped message to the participants, most of whom are attending Japanese universities and graduate schools.

Former U.N. Undersecretary General Yasushi Akashi, who currently serves as chairman of the Japan Center for Prevention Diplomacy, will deliver a speech on international politics, focusing on peace and preventive diplomacy.

The participants will attend a symposium today in Kanazawa titled, “Global Mind: Japan Tent Worldwide.”

Yoshiyuki Fujisawa, chairman of the Industrial Bank of Japan, and Heita Kawakatsu, a professor at the International Research Center for Japanese Studies, will each deliver a speech, followed by a panel discussion in which five participants will talk about their lives in Japan and their dreams for the future.

The participants, from 71 countries and territories, will then be divided into five groups for discussions on the topics of the global environment, international politics, world economy, education and culture, and information technology.

This evening, the participants depart for various destinations within the prefecture, where they will spend the duration of the program with Japanese families to experience the culture.

The Japan Tent program, first held in 1988, has been attended by some 4,300 students from 130 countries and territories.