Members of the Saitama Prefectural Assembly to visit Oct. 16

Japanese officials to talk politics and business with Oilers 

By Kelsey Nevius

On Oct. 16 and 17, students from the University of Findlay will get a chance to connect with officials from Japan. Members from the Saitama Prefectural Assembly will be visiting the campus to help increase intercultural relationships and learning.

As the only University in Ohio fostering this relationship, students will get the chance to interact with elected officials from Japan to talk politics, education, and business.

“I know that all of us involved think this will be a tremendous learning experience and opportunity to be exposed to cultural exchange of ideas, especially here at the University of Findlay. It’s the college experience at its best,” said student Sydney Wertz, who will be taking part in the event. “It highlights the positive effects of globalization and gives them a chance to learn about our democracy, and a great opportunity of listening to others in a different perspective.”

The two-day event will feature and foster communication from UF students, faculty, staff, and the Members of the Saitama Prefectural Assembly. The main focus of conversation during their visit will be on the upcoming election, according to Hiroaki Kawamura, PhD, chair of UF’s department of language and culture.

During their stay, the Assembly Members will meet with city and university officials, as well as students for one-on-one time to talk about the upcoming election and politics. They will also tour the campus and take part in various photo shoots and meet and greets throughout their stay.

“The delegation has three overall goals,” said Kawamura. “One, learning about the final stretch of the 2016 Presidential election activities at a local level; two, learning about young people’s perception and involvement in the election; and three, learning about fundraising activities for elected officials’ campaign.”

The relationship between UF and the Saitama Prefecture Assembly will continue throughout the year in various different ways.

Kawamura stated that students from the Assembly are hosted at UF every year, and in the past there have been teaching programs for Hancock County teachers.

In the near future, Kawamura stated that UF will work in collaboration with the city of Kawaguchi in the Saitama Prefecture to hold an exchange student program to keep the relationship strong and healthy.

“My expectations are truly just excitement. I feel that we are all excited and feel pretty honored to be able to have this experience,” said Jacob Sarver, a student who will also take part in the event. “I really love politics and hearing about other countries and their differences so this will be a great opportunity.”

Sarver looks forward to comparing and contrasting the political process in Japan versus the United States.

“I’m excited to see the differences because the way our country handles politics is pretty extreme and intense. Hearing to see if this is the same with other countries will be interesting,” said Sarver.

For a full schedule of the event or to get involved, contact Kawamura at

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