On Sunday, I was interviewed for the Kawasaki City Representative Assembly for Foreign Residents. In the past, the normal situation has apparently been that they have had trouble finding enough people, but this time they had around fifty applicants, and the assembly has a maximum membership of about twenty five. Thus, I suppose, the need for interviews to help decide between the people who had applied. That said, the interviews were only ten minutes long, so while they would be fine for confirming Japanese ability (important, since that’s the language of the meetings), I’m not sure how much they could learn in depth about the candidates.
The questions were much as I expected. Some were practical, about my Japanese ability and whether I intended to move out of Kawasaki or take Japanese citizenship. Obviously, those are all basic requirements for the post. They also wanted to know what I wanted to do on the assembly.
There are two things. First, I’d like to investigate the possibility of doing a proper survey on the problems that foreigners living in Kawasaki encounter. I don’t think there’s any hard data on what the real problems are, which makes any policies a bit of a shot in the dark.
Second, I’d like to look at things the city can afford to do to help foreigners integrate better into Japanese society. The language is obviously a big one, but I don’t know what the city can actually afford to do to help with that; language lessons are expensive, and volunteer lessons expensive to organise. Still, if I’m chosen for the committee, I have two years to look into things before we have to produce concrete suggestions.
Because of the number of candidates, it might, apparently, be March before we know whether we’ve been chosen. I might have moved by then! (Although not out of Kawasakiâ€¦)