Few students can say that they had a working lunch with former Prime Minister Naoto Kan, who led Japan through crucial moments of the 3-11 crisis. Even fewer students can say that they also had the opportunity to watch, from close proximity, as current Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was heavily cross examined by his opposition regarding national security issues. Such experiences would be the equivalent to having lunch with George W. Bush, asking him questions about 9-11, before watching President Obama address Congress.
On May 28, students of the Japan Studies class did have the opportunities described above. Before their trip, the Japan Studies students held a mock National Diet in class. They were divided and had to represent political views according to procedures similar to the Diet’s. These thirteen students then had the opportunity to visit with and ask questions directly to the former Prime Minister regarding the situation in Fukushima. They then moved on to the National Diet Building where they were permitted to enter the Special Committee on National Security.
Upon their return, students further supplemented their studies by discussing national security issues based on their new experiences. Midori Iki, a reporter from Asahi Shimbun, also attended this learning experience and featured the class in an article for the June 4 morning Asahi Newspaper. (Bapi Ghosh, HS Social Studies Teacher)
You can read an additional article by Ms. Iki, in English, on the Asahi Shimbun website.