The Japanese and U.S. governments are working to establish an international school in Okinawa Prefecture that promotes English education among Japanese children with the help of the U.S. military.
In their final report on the realignment of U.S. forces in Japan, both countries stressed the importance of enhancing partnerships with local governments hosting military bases, such as Okinawa Prefecture.
The central government began studying the possibility of establishing a system to allow Japanese children to receive English education inside U.S. bases. It is considering designating host municipalities of U.S. bases as “special education zones.”
The military-sponsored English education program was proposed by Wallace Gregson, who used to serve as the U.S. military’s Okinawa area coordinator. He now lives in the United States.
With the help of the two governments, as well as teachers and the business community in Okinawa, Gregson has created a nonprofit organization to establish such an international school in Okinawa.
The plan calls for actively recruiting civilian employees of the U.S. military as teachers. Under consideration is providing an International Baccalaureate degree, which is recognized as qualification to enter universities outside Japan, to graduates of the new schools.
The first such school is scheduled to open in Okinawa in 2008.
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