Yoron Island is located at the southernmost end of Kagoshima Prefecture. In this small island, many American and Japanese primary school children gather together once a year. They engage in outdoor activities in close contact with nature, study in the classrooms, stay at local people’s homes, and experience living in a community in order to be trained to work internationally in the future. These activities have been carried out for the past 42 years by International Youth Association of Japan K.S.K.K. (Public Interest Incorporated Foundation). I have been serving as chairman of this Foundation since 2012. A total of about 300 participants have gathered together this year. Of all 300 participants, there are 130 Americans, 100 Japanese, several Indonesians, and some children’s guardians. Since this large number of children stay in such a small island with a population of 5,500 for a week or so every year, these activities must be the largest annual event on the island. People in this island and the staff of the Foundation are proud of these activities which have had no accident or trouble for the past 42 years.
I have been wishing to participate in these activities for many years, and at last, my wish has come true this year. For the past three days, I have greeted town mayor of Yoron and other leaders, expressing my gratitude for their kindness extended to all of us, particularly, to children. With children, I have visited beautiful beaches which we rarely see along the seashore on the mainland, stalactite caves and other ruins, sugar cane fields, and finally, watched the boat races by the children’s teams. I am sure these activities will become a good memory for all children. I too was glad I have experienced such memorial activities with children.
(For the details of International Youth Association of Japan K.S.K.K., please refer to its website.)