Message from President of KIFA
One step forward to true international friendship
By Shiro Kiuchi
(Chairperson of Katori International Friendship Association)
Our association was established in July 2004, officially named 'Sawara City International Friendship Association,' and afterwards was renamed 'Katori City International Friendship Association (KIFA),' as a result of municipal merging of one city Sawara and three towns Omigawa, Yamada and Kurimoto in March 2006, with the aim of promoting international exchange projects to build up sustainable community open to the world and, more important, taking actions to deepen mutual comprehension and develope true international friendship between Katori City and foreign countries.
The borderless and globalized circumstances today are apt to enhance active interactions of people as well as cultures all through the world. Under such situations, quite a few people of our city are beginning to take an interest in international matters, and in fact there are grassroots contacts among citizens, foreign residents and tourists from abroad. These exchange activities are of great help to advance international understanding through cross-cultural communication and develop the individuality of the citizens that will enable them to feel the pride in their own community.
Fully recognizing the importance of what is mentioned above, we have been attempting to provide several projects of attracting the tourists from foreign countries, create various exchange events and practice volunteering interpretation guide service for the people from at home and abroad. Luckily for us, Katori City has favorable conditions for meeting those requirements: the convenient access to Narita International Airport and Kashima Industrial Area and good tourist sites such as historic townscape still preserved in the heart of Sawara Area and Katori Shrine.
In addition, to support the increasing number of foreign residents, we have been making every possible effort, like setting up a Japanese language class for them. The merging of four municipalities will be a significant impact to invite lots of people with accumulated experiences in local international exchange activities. We are determined to make one step forward to true internatinal friendship the city residents really want.
We sincerely hope we can obtain broad and warm support and cooperation from the people of Katori City.