Koza International Plaza opens to aid foreigners
A new business designed to provide counsel to foreigners in Okinawa who are confronted with a myriad of confusing issues is now open in Ichibankan Mall in Okinawa City.
The Koza International Plaza grand opening ceremony is today. The office starts business from Saturday, and it’s mission is to provide foreigners a one-stop service in tidentifying problems foreigners encounter that both hinder their livelihood and confuse them because of language barriers. KIP will provide services in English, Spanish, Chinese and Japanese. The shop will provide assistance in dealing with municipal services while providing information and references to relevant offices and agencies.
Among the many areas of consultation available are divorce, domestic violence, international marriage, pregnancy, childbirth, parenting, employment and unemployment, inter-personal relationships, housing and learning Japanese. Koza International Plaza operates by appointments only from 1 p.m. ~ 4 p.m., with consultations limited to 40 minutes.
Appointments with Chinese speakers are done on Mondays, Spanish on Thursday and English on Friday. Appointments may be made anytime at (098) 989-6759 or by fax (098) 989-6758. English and Japanese-speaking staff are always in the shop. Eri Oshiro says “If you have any problems, please feel free to call us and ask anything. We will help find solutions to your problems, and of course you can visit, talk and drink coffee with us even if you don’t have a problem.”
Koza International Plaza is open 10 a.m. ~ 9 p.m., with office work to 6 p.m. KIP is open daily except for Japanese holidays. Free parking is available at the near-by Kyodo Parking. KIP provides the free parking tickets.
When KIP receives a request, they call specialists on those requests. In short, KIP is the go-between between individuals and the subject matter experts. A Spanish advisor at KIP says “although we accept people who live primarily in Okinawa City, people who live in other cities, towns and villages can call us free. We want to make this shop the place that many people from many countries call to collect information.”
KIP is also featuring an interaction in Japanese called Yuntaku-kai, the means of learning the Japanese language through interaction with others. The interactions will be Wednesday evenings 7 p.m. ~ 8:30 p.m., and are open to all non-native Japanese speakers. Another interaction takes place on Fridays 10 a.m. ~ noon for child-rearing parents whose native language is not Japanese, and Japanese-speaking volunteers.
Koza International Plaza is located on Palmira Street on Chuo Park Avenue in Okinawa City. From Kadena Air Base Gate 2, turn left at Goya crossing, then turn left at the next signal to enter Park Avenue. Palmyra Street is the first left turn at the first corner (entrance is blocked for cars). There’s plenty of pay parking in the area.