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Orphans from 18 Countries Pay Courtesy Call on Prime Minister

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Photograph of the courtesy call from orphans from 18 countries Photograph of the Prime Minister shaking hands with an orphan

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe received a courtesy call from about 80 orphans from 18 countries around the world, including Indonesia, Malaysia, Iraq and Niger, who lost their parents in tsunami and earthquake disasters, diseases, conflicts and other calamities.

Representing the orphans, Ms. Nabukenya Ritah from Uganda made a request to the Prime Minister in Japanese, saying, "There is something that we, 1,100 orphans from 18 countries around the world, would like to ask to you, Prime Minister Abe. We would like to have terakoya* in our countries so that many orphans outside Japan can learn the Japanese language and Japanese culture in their homeland. We would also like to request to you to expand Japanese language education and scholarship programs for those wishing to study at Japanese universities and professional training colleges."

In response, Prime Minister Abe said, "I am truly glad to know that young people abroad are eager to learn the Japanese language and wish to come to Japan to study. I will make sure to consider the expansion of necessary systems to meet your requests and to make your dreams come true." Following his remarks, the Prime Minister shook hands with each one of the orphans at the venue.

* Terakoya were the schools in Japan from the 14th to the 19th century that provided literacy skills and basic education to children.