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Sports, culture exchange take place in Uruma City

Date Posted: 2010-02-18

A friendship and cultural exchange between Japanese and American youngsters brought together hundreds of Uruma City children and U.S. students from Camp McTureous.

The event organized by the Japanese Self Defense Force’s Okinawa Branch brought together 115 Uruma City school children and 132 kids from the McTureous Bechtel Elementary School. Bechtel Elementary is a sister school with Kawasaki elementary School in Uruma City. The JSDF spent ¥2.8 million organizing the day-long event, which included a tug-of-war, music and dance, running and fun activities. “We wanted children of both nations to have the friendship exchange and understand each other’s culture,” said the Director of Self Defense Forces, who added “they need to learn more about both countries’ life, and local people should have more exchanges, more often.”

The Ministry of Self Defense says “we need to have deep relationships with local municipalities to understand each other, and to correspond on political problems.” The event was begun in 2008, and has spread to other prefectures including Nagasaki Prefecture and five municipalities. More than ¥40 million has already been spent on the friendship exchange program. One lady attending the McTureous exchange called it “a very good chance to have a friendship exchange,” and added “we want to have more frequent, similar events like this.”

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