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Children take over Miyako Island government assembly

Date Posted: 2006-09-01

Miyako Jima City’s new mayor wants to get everyone in the community involved in running the city.

He started fulfilling a campaign pledge by bringing children into City Hall and putting them to work at a special assembly members meeting. Mayor Akira Ishimine says he wants children to have experience and understanding about how government works for the people, and he wants the city’s Assembly members to understand what constituents want. In that regard, he wants politicians to appreciate the fact that children have thoughts too.

Twenty-seven children were selected from the city’s elementary and junior high schools to serve on the Children’s Assembly. Observers say the youngsters behaved with the enthusiasm and maturity of adult assemblymen. They fielded questions about school facilities, reforming cultural properties, measures on preserving the environment, and making the city serve its citizens.

Ishimine was excited about the way the children went about business, and tossed his support behind them. The kids questioned use of electric fans in schools, and getting broken fans repaired quickly. “Sure,” said Ishimine. “I’ve asked them to check quickly, and if there is no fan we’ll get them. If there are broken fans, we’ll get them repaired right away.”

Children’s Assembly members also questioned the route for the local Miyako Jima City Triathlon. “Right now,” said one, “the Irabu-Hirara Harbor has great bridge construction going on. After it is complete, we want the bridge to be included in the course.” Akira agreed. “Sure, I’ll promise that, too.”

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