About Musashino International Association (MIA)

Public Interest Incorporated Foundation Musashino International Association (MIA) Project Outline

Musashino International Association (MIA) organizes a variety of projects for grassroots level intercultural exchange, to develop an open society that contributes to peace in the world. With the indispensable support and understanding of many in the community, MIA provides various programs in an effort to realize “Tabunka Kyosei shakai”(multicultural society), where people with different cultures and backgrounds respect each other and cooperate in the same community.

Support for Foreign Residents to live comfortably in the Community

Support in learning the Japanese language

Japanese Language Courses

There are Japanese Language Volunteers (Nihongo Koryu-in), who assist foreign residents of Musashino and neighboring cities to learn Japanese needed to reside without difficulty. Japanese language courses are made up of a combination of either group or one-on-one activities. Group lessons are organized according to either the level of Japanese proficiency or subject of the class/lesson. One-on-one lessons are determined by the foreign learner and “Nihongo Koryu-in” on where, when, what, etc., is taught.

Japanese Speech Showcase by Foreign Residents

A training workshop is held once every 2 years for “Nihongo Koryu-in,” to learn the knowledge and skills required for necessary activities in Japanese courses. Lawyers, social welfare counselors, psychologists and other specialists who have abundant experience in supporting foreign residents in Japan hold lectures for volunteers on a variety of topics, to understand the foreigners’ viewpoints as pointers when undertaking volunteer activities.

Training workshop for “Nihongo Koryu-in”(Japanese communication volunteers)

A training workshop is held once every 2 years for “Nihongo Koryu-in,” to learn the knowledge and skills required for necessary activities in Japanese courses. Lawyers, social welfare counselors, psychologists and other specialists who have abundant experience in supporting foreign residents in Japan hold lectures for volunteers on a variety of topics, to understand the foreigners’ viewpoints as pointers when undertaking volunteer activities.

Multi-language Consultation

Free Professional Consultation / Professional Consultation

Foreign residents in Musashino and nearby cities can consult in their mother tongue or alternative languages, with specialists including lawyers, “Gyoseishoshi” (Administrative Scriveners), Social Insurance & Labor Consultants, psychiatrists or psychologists, in cooperation with MIA interpretation volunteers and MIA staff. Free Professional Consultation for Foreign Residents is held without an appointment once or twice a year. Professional Consultations for Foreign Residents are arranged every month by appointment with specialists and MIA interpretation volunteers on specific topics. Both programs are free of charge.

Interpretation Volunteer Training

An orientation meeting is held for newly registered interpretation volunteers to explain about activities in general. There are also training sessions to deepen the understanding of matters related to common consultation topics, such as residential status, legal issues and etiquette required as MIA interpretation volunteers.

Promotion of Foreign Students’ Community Participation

“Ryugakusei” Musashino Family Program

To promote foreign students (Ryugakusei) attending universities in Musashino and nearby cities to participate in their local community, MIA cooperates with universities so that Ryugakusei and local families (“Musashino Family”) can freely interact with each other through MIA’s “Home Visit” program (one-day home visit) for a year. Details are explained at the beginning of the program (April & October) for those who are interested. Various meetings, lectures and parties are planned as follow-up events.

Communications Support for Foreign Residents

Multi-language Information Service for Daily Life

Multi-language Consultation & Information Service

MIA has a multi-language service for needed information and consultation. Volunteers (Interpretation Volunteers) who speak Spanish, Russian, Norwegian, German, Tamil, Hindi or Chinese take turns to be available once a month each, as part of the Listener System. It is in combination with the information service available by MIA Office staff in English (5 days/week) and Chinese (3 days/week).

Newsletter for Foreign Residents MIA Calendar

MIA Calendar is the multi-language newsletter (Japanese, English, Chinese, and Spanish) introducing events hosted by MIA, Musashino City and others, including practical information for daily life such as notices on disaster prevention drills. It is published 4 times every fiscal year (April, July, October, and January) and sent by post to MIA foreign members for free. Copies are also available at local community facilities and public offices.

Radio Program with Useful Information for Foreign Residents: “News from MIA”

From the studios of community radio station “Musashino FM (FM78.2MHz)”, the MIA volunteer group “FM Radio Volunteer Group” produces and broadcasts programs in Japanese, English, Korean and Chinese, for foreign residents in Japan on topics such as intercultural exchange and what’s going on in and about Musashino City.

Disaster Prevention Programs for Foreign Residents (Awareness-raising Activities)

Under an agreement with Musashino City, MIA facilitates language/communications support for foreign residents in the event of a disaster. Since it is essential to further residents’ awareness of disaster mitigation, MIA introduces related programs and distributes multi-language handbooks at various events including the Musashino International Exchange Festival. Such activities are led by the Disaster Prevention Volunteer Group for Foreign Residents. Furthermore, by participating in disaster prevention drills and related events hosted by Musashino City, MIA has been enhancing coordination with related organizations.

Interpretation and Translation Service

If there are requests for interpretation or translation support in medical, educational, public administration or legal consultations, the MIA Office coordinates interpretation volunteers on a case-by-case basis, offering services within the realm of assistance possible as a volunteer. Interpretation volunteers are dispatched only within the Tokyo metropolitan area. Interpretation or translation services are solely arranged when requested by organizations, (individual/personal requests are impermissible) and are subject to remuneration (in accordance with MIA rates for interpretation or translation services).

Development of “Tabunka Kyosei shaki,” or Multicultural Harmony in the Society

Promotion of International Understanding in the Community

In a community where cultural diversity progresses, MIA hosts various events featuring international exchange/cooperation and “Tabunka Kyosei” to enhance a society in which peoples of different language and cultural backgrounds understand each other and live harmoniously together. Workshops and lectures for cross-cultural understanding are available and open to the local public.

Musashino International Exchange Festival

MIA’s daily activities and network are encapsulated in a one-day event known as “Musashino International Exchange Festival,” promoting the appeal of intercultural exchange and cooperation to communities far and wide. Festival programs are organized with an eye to encourage more community involvement by foreign residents, asking those such as MIA Japanese Language Course participants to act as lecturers in some programs. MIA members, Musashino City, local international exchange and cooperation groups, local merchants’ associations, universities, government-affiliated agency officials and others, as well as many one-day-only citizen volunteers, all cooperate in the operating of the festival. Musashino International Exchange Festival advances grassroots-level cross-cultural activities, creates a culturally cosmopolitan city and invigorates the development of a truly attractive community.

Youth Workshop

MIA offers a place where university students and others of the same generation can come together to think and learn from a global standpoint, encouraging the nurture of cosmopolitan individuals as well as an understanding of “Tabunka Kyosei.” In order to enhance “Tabunka Kyosei” in a community, the understanding and proactivity of youths is indispensable. Participants in Seinen Youth Workshop have been active as volunteers in various events hosted by MIA and others, jointly working in an effort to promote multicultural harmony.

MIA Lecture for Citizens: Relay Talk for International Understanding

As cultural diversity progresses within a community, so too does the need for residents of different cultures and languages to understand each other. Therefore, in order to build a place where all can live in tranquility, MIA holds courses/talks on intercultural exchange and cooperation, “Tabunka Kyosei” and mutual understanding.

Support for volunteer activities for international exchange and cooperation

Volunteer Independent Groups

MIA supports numerous volunteer activities in the community by providing venues and publicity for MIA members, regardless of nationality, to cooperate with one another to plan and organize projects. MIA members launch independent volunteer groups to cater to such needs as required. These include a group which edits/publishes newsletters on volunteer activities for MIA members; produces multi-language radio programs; introduces different cultures as instructed by MIA’s foreign members, and; supporting classroom activities for cooking, arts & crafts, foreign language conversation and children’s programs, and so on.

Group Names Activity Details
FM Radio Volunteer Group From planning to appearing on radio programs, ”News from MIA” for information related to MIA, Musashino City and the community, broadcast in four languages (Japanese, English, Chinese, Korean) and “MIA Plaza” interviewing foreign guests; aired on Musashino FM.
Volunteer News Editing Group Writing/editing/publishing of “MIA Volunteer News” with firsthand reports on various MIA volunteer activities
Event Group Support for planning/preparation/operation of the event “Know the World! Let’s Communicate with People Worldwide!” to introduce various cultures, planned by foreign members
Foreign Volunteers Support Group Operational support for event programs such as cooking and art lectures planned/operated by foreign volunteers, including preparation, operational/implemental assistance, and cleaning up after the events

Foreign Members Independent Planning Projects

MIA hosts events planned by foreign members as independent projects, supporting their volunteer activities in the community, including an introduction to their native culture, cooking, arts & crafts, and foreign language conversation. Foreign members are sometimes dispatched to local elementary or junior high schools to help students nurture a sense of global understanding.

Independent Volunteer Program Promotion Committee

This committee was set up to promote independent activities presented to it by volunteers. The committee deliberates on independent programs proposed by volunteer members, exchanges volunteer group activity information, and cooperates in events to invigorate such activities.

Coordination with community organizations for international exchange and cooperation

In order to promote “Tabunka Kyosei shakai”(multicultural community), MIA cooperates in various ways with Musashino City, local organizations for international exchange and cooperation, community councils, companies, schools, universities, et cetera. MIA supports some of the local organizations by backing, co-hosting, or aiding them. MIA also dispatches foreign members to local events as lecturers or booth exhibitors.