【University Students’ International Conference in Mie, 2016】

As a kickoff event for KIP’s 10th anniversary of its foundation, we had a 4day program named University Students’ International Conference in Mie (UNICOM), from Aug.31 to Sep.3, co-sponsored by KIP and Mie prefectural government. It was one of the biggest post-summit events held in Ise-city, Mie prefecture where the G7 summit was held this May. The students who participated, total of 76 in number, came from various places; 20 of them were international students who are currently studying in Japanese universities coming from 10 different countries like Russia, Pakistan, China, South Korea, Nepal and so on; 56 of them were Japanese students from nationwide, such as Osaka, Tokyo, Aichi, Gifu and Mie prefecture including the original KIP members. In UNICOM, we learned about the local history and culture, and discussed local issues both from local and global perspectives.


Aug.31 (Wed) Opening Ceremony, Ise-jingu tour
Sep.1 (Thu) Ise- city tour, Discussion I “Does hometown tax help regions in Japan revitalize?”
Sep.2 (Fri) Minami Ise-cho primary industry hands-on sessions, Discussion II “Should we promote free trade in Japan?”
Sep.3 (Sat) Shima-city tour, Reflection “What should we do to revitalize Mie prefecture?” and Closing Ceremony, Iga-city tour


-The opening ceremony-

-Discussion with students from overseas, Tokyo, Tokai, Ise-

—Dinner with every one-

-Gegu of Ise-jingu-

-Naigu of Ise—jingu tour-

-A group picture at Naigu of Ise—jingu-

-Making good— catch flags with people who live in Minami Ise-cho-

-Announcements of completed good—catch flags from each groups!-

-Experiencing measures against damages by animals (tour of primary industries in Minami Ise-cho)-

【Comments from participants】

Since UNICOM was held in a bigger scale than the usual KIP regional studying trip, participants were very diverse, coming from broad areas with unique perspectives. Especially the students from local area in Mie and the international students, who would look at Japan from the outside, brought many new and interesting ideas into our discussions and just normal everyday conversations, which I greatly appreciated. Ise Jingu and the surrounding areas that had developed with the shrine, creating rich culture and history, were very appealing to me that I have become very much fond of the place. (Yuko Yokoi, 3rd year at Keio University)

I was filled with deep emotions when I visited Ise Jingu with the UNICOM participants. I think that caring about Ise Jingu connects to how we feel about our hometowns and other regions in Japan, which is related to one of our discussion topics. As one of the representatives of students from Mie prefecture, I appreciate that I had the chance to participate in this program and I would like to become a person who can contribute to the society in the future. (Haruko Sakai, 4th year at Kogakkan University)

I took part in UNICOM from Aichi. We discussed problems in local area for three times. In the discussions, I could think about these problems from different angles because I talked with various students and heard many information and views. I live in neighboring prefecture but I didn’t know about Mie in detail. However, I became to thinking familiar about local areas in Mie and their problems, because I inspected people and occupations in Mie. It was wonderful experience for me to spend Mie with people who were from various countries and areas. (Miyako Ishio, 2nd year at Nanzan University)

From 31st August to 3rd September I was participated on a event-UNICOM . Among 78 participant, most of the member were from kanto region. It was great experience to interact with the person from different country and different educational background. Group discussion was the best part of this event. Everyone were very active and cheerful so ,inspite of short timeperiod ,we were able to be familiar with all member.I got more information about the Agricultural and Economic sector of Mie prefecture ,where I have been living for 4year. In addition, I would like to Thank the entire team of organizer ,all the participant, staff from Mie prefecture and those respectfull person who were connected with this programme. Now,I am looking forward to join on the similar event on future days. (Ghimire Sunita, 3rd year at Yokkaichi University from Nepal)

Although it was only a four-day program, we saw two different aspects of Mie prefecture at Ise-Jingu Shrine and at Minami-Ise cho. At Ise-Jingue Shrine, we learned the traditional and unique perspectives on nature and religion, and at Minami-Ise cho, we learned what the current situation is in depopulated area. As I am from Gifu prefecture, which lies next to Mie, I felt that the problems Mie has such as low birthrate and decline of industries that once flourished in the past were so similar what we face in Gifu. However, learning about the regions that have been affected by those problems severely, I felt that I still did not understand them yet. I felt that with sharing what I have learned in this program, I want to keep talking these issues with younger generations who are not directly familiar with these problems. (Yoshihide Adachi, 4th year at Gifu University)

UNICOM conference in Mie has expanded my views on Japan and gave me so much new interesting experience! Even before applying to this event I had been particularly interested in becoming a member of KIP because I sympathize with the mission of the organization and I want to see myself as a part of the process and help KIP in achieving its goals. Honestly speaking, the conference has exceeded my expectations dramatically. First, I enjoyed communication with Japanese and international students and made a lot of new friends. Second, the agenda for the discussions had been selected so that the participants could discuss real issues arising in the region which are also common for other Japanese prefectures. But what I really appreciated about the conference is that the discussion topics had many points in common with cultural and historical program which the prefectural government had organized for us, as well as visiting Mie manufactures in operation. I am very grateful to Japanese students who helped me with translation to English and additional explanation during sightseeing and discussions. During the interesting excursions I learnt a lot of Japanese culture and history which actually have a strong connection to Mie local places, such as famous Ise-Jingu shrine. I am looking forward to new collaboration with KIP! (Igor Zavialov, a research student at University of Tokyo from Russia)