NRW州経済振興公社理事長ペトラ・ヴァスー様Ladies and Gentlemen, dear Alumni of the Japanese International School Dusseldorf, I would like to welcome you very much to the 10 years anniversary Alumni meeting of the of the Japanese International School Dusseldorf. My name is Petra Wassner and I am the CEO of the Economic Development Corporation North-Rhine Westfalia.
This meeting today is a part of the German Year in Japan 2005/2006. The north-rhine westfalian government in Dusseldorf decided to participate the German Year in Japan because of the fact that the region around the state capital Dusseldorf is the center of the Japanese business community in Germany with about 500 companies doing their business their and more than 11,000 japanese people living in North-Rhine Westfalia, or for short NRW.
The Japanese School in Dusseldorf is of a tremendous importance for the Japanese community in Dusseldorf. When the first Japanese companies came to NRW about 50 years ago people did not usually think that Japanese schools were necessary in Europe. However, the children who went to the local schools had a lot of problems and difficulties due to the differences in languages and the school educational systems. Moreover, there were also problems for those who went back to Japan. It was very difficult for those students and their families to enter or transfer to the schools in Japan.
So since 1960 the japanese children visiting the local schools got additional lessons in Japanese language. Along with the increasing number of Japanese companies and families with their children during the 60ties the necessity of an own Japanese school became more and more important. It lasts until April 21st, 1971, when the Japanese International School in Dusseldorf started with 43 students. The school was first opened for grades 5 to 9 in Canisiushaus,an additional building of the St. Antonius Church in Oberkassel, from 1972 also the grades 1 to 4 were opened.
And thanks to the tremendous effort of the Japanese people and the city of Dusseldorf the own school building was built already in 1973. However, the number of the students got bigger and bigger as well as the rapid growth of Japan's economy. It reached a peak in 1992 with almost 1,000 students, and then gradually began to decrease.
In 1983, the junior high school division had to leave the 'home ground' because of the capacity of the building. They moved to an old, brick-made school building, which was once a public school in Dusseldorf. The school was called 'Lanker school' as it was located on Lanker Strasse in Oberkassel, and it was loved by many students who studied there. The 'Lanker School' was carried on for 18 years, and in 2001, the year the 30th anniversary of the school foundation was celebrated, the junior high school division came 'home' and the two schools have been united again. At present there are about 700 students being teached at the school.
Ten years ago the Alumni Club of the Japanese International School in Dusseldorf was founded and having a Alumni Meeting every two to three years today I have the opportunity to join your 10 years Anniversary Meeting. I wish you a nice afternoon today and the Japanese International School in Dusseldorf a prosperous future.
Thank you very much for your attention, domo arrigato gozaimaschta!
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