Internationalization of Tsukuba Masami Ando
The City of Tsukuba was designed by the government to create a new science city in a suburb ranging 60-100km from Tokyo. Its primary aim was that in order to solve an overpopulated metropolitan situation by moving almost all government research laboratories in Tokyo out. This was leading to prepare several safe locations for people who would like to flee in from disaster such as a big scale of earthquake. From scientific point of view interactive communication inside the city could be quite beneficial to create novel science and technology.
Since the City was completed in 1979 almost 30 years are going to pass by. The statistics of the Tsukuba City says as follows: the number of government based as well as proprietary based research laboratories is approximately 130, the number of their employees about 23000, the number of researchers 12000, the number of PhD holders ~5700 and the number of foreign researchers ~4000.
In order to enhance scientific activities in Tsukuba we have already introduced many researchers from abroad. Making their stay comfortable should be a first priority matter to think. Offering a good condition of residence, schools, shopping area where one can buy also special things dedicated to their own culture etc, multi-language traffic signs are the subjects to prepare. Some of them have been solved but others still remain unsolved. Currently the average of their stay is based on one-year programme.
Encouraging their stay longer will make achievement from Tsukuba will be surely greater because their attitude for research will be with a longer sight. How can one make this programme realizable ? One condition should be change of the concept over the employment so that any can apply the permanent or temporal position equally. Already all over Japan no nationality item exists in the employment condition. However one can not say that the full service is available for non-Japanese resident. Can any condition be a leading factor to attract more foreign researchers and their family to live longer in Tsukuba ? Increasing opportunity of choosing one’s favourite school system such as detouched small sized international schools, introducing an international class in a regular local school where a majour language is Japanese and this special class adopts for instance English etc.
Under the organization of the Tsukuba Science City Network which comprises almost all research laboratories in Tsukuba including the Tsukuba University there is the regular meeting called the Committee for Internationalizing Tsukuba. One of its intensive activities under way at present is to discuss how one can create an international school. What we have discussed will be precisely reported in the Forum.