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Partnership Agreement with Rikuzentakata City and Iwate University on regional revitalization and human resource development

02/17/2016

On January 19, Rikuzentakata City, Iwate University and Rikkyo University have signed an agreement to help reconstruct and rejuvenate the city and the rest of the Sanriku coastal area, which were devastated by the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011. Support for the area’s efforts to develop necessary human resources is also part of the deal.

Based on the pact, the three parties plan to establish a council tasked with exploring ways to utilize a vacant school building in Rikuzentakata as an education hub. The signatories will also investigate the feasibility of holding joint symposiums and educational programs.

Rikkyo University began developing ties with Rikuzentakata in 2003, when it launched an extracurricular program for students to get first-hand experience of forestry work in the Oide area of Yahagi-cho. In April 2011, the university set up an operational base to help reconstruct the region in the wake of its devastation the previous month. In May that year, the university designated the city as an area for concentrated support—a move that lead to an accord in 2012 to facilitate cooperation and exchanges between the two parties.

So far, an aggregate of more than 1,000 Rikkyo students have visited the city as volunteers, or to take part in sports exchange programs and reconstruction support projects for undergraduate and foreign students, among other schemes.

In October 2015, the university released “RIKKYO VISION 2024,” spelling out the institution’s midterm plans up to 2024, the 150th anniversary of its founding. The vision comprises three sets of values (guidelines for action) including “Lead for Learning,” which incorporates an initiative to establish a satellite campus in Rikuzentakata to act as a hub for lasting exchanges.

Iwate University, meanwhile, has been supporting reconstruction efforts across Iwate Prefecture. The university received subsidies from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology under the ministry’s “Center of Community (COC)” program in 2013, and “COC+” program in 2015 to help promote regional revitalization by COC+ universities. The university is now proposing the establishment of a regional reconstruction and rejuvenation center in Rikuzentakata.

The latest tripartite accord was concluded to facilitate closer cooperation among Rikuzentakata City, Iwate University and Rikkyo University with the aim of realizing the universities’ plans.

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