AIRA, the Abiko International Relations Association, was founded in November 1992 by the leaders of Abiko City as a volunteer organization aimed at heightening the international awareness of its citizens.
From the time of its inauguration AIRA started offering interpretation and translation services. In the following year, 1993, it launched Japanese language classes for foreign residents in the city and also initiated a training course for Japanese language instructors. Foreign language classes for Abiko citizens, initially just English and Chinese, also commenced at this time.
Currently, in 2018, AIRA has added Friday evening Japanese language classes to its existing Japanese classes on Tuesdays and Saturdays and also sends qualified members to give Japanese lessons to foreign children in the schools. AIRA also offers a total of 22 foreign language courses in 5 different languages --- English, Chinese, French, Korea and Spanish --- as well as German and Spanish conversation salons.
As part of its translation and interpretation services, AIRA provides an English digest version of the monthly Abiko News Letter, “Koho Abiko”, and also undertakes document translation jobs when requested by the city or local organizations. AIRA sends interpreters to the various international events held in Abiko as well, and holds regular brush-up training courses for its translators and interpreters to keep them up to speed.
Besides the above services, AIRA carries out many events and activities aimed at promoting stronger ties between its citizens and its foreign residents. These events include the Abiko International Festival, speech contests, cultural courses (foreign cooking, lectures, etc.), bus excursions, international parties, elementary school visits by foreign residents, and consultation services to help its foreign residents adapt to life in Japan.
Recently, the number of tourists from abroad and the number of foreign residents have been growing rapidly providing more and more opportunities to come into local contact with foreign people. So why not join in some of our activities and work with us to further promote international friendship.