Interview Series #6：インタビューシリーズ＃６ Mr. Beliveau：べりボー氏
Interviewee: Mr. Marc Beliveau Public Relations Officer, Delegation Office of Quebec Government (Date: January 11, 2007; Place: Shiroyama Trust Tower, Kamiya-cho; Interviewer and Writer: Takahiro Miyao）
Summary of Mr. Beliveau’s Interview
The question “what can Japan learn from Quebec?” is quite interesting. One thing Japan can learn is how to manage a city to make it a “creative city” like Montreal. In some sections of Montreal, there are empty buildings and factories, and a number of artists are moving into those places, because of low rents there and financial support for artists in the city. One result is the emergence of a city of multi-media within Montreal. The key point is how to change functions of some sections of the city to accommodate artists and other people in the so-called “creative class.” By learning from this experience in Montreal, Japan can manage the old sections of its cities to make them more creative than otherwise.
Another thing that Japan can learn from Quebec is how to enrich daily living for city residents. For example, the City of Montreal has a number of empty lots, which are used as community gardens to be rented out to its residents. The City provides some management, but it is loose enough that residents can use them freely as their gardens. In fact, this practice of community gardens has become a kind of movement, now spreading to various parts of the world. http://www.cityfarmer.org/Montreal13.html Similarly, “mosaic culture” is a movement, originating in Montreal, where residents can work on some arts such as sculptures in a public place. Actually, this has become a big event, which was held in Shanghai last year, and will be held in Hamamatsu next year.
Community-level exchange from the international perspective is also something Japan can learn from Quebec, where various NGOs are quite active in supporting community affairs in developing countries. For example, Cirque du Soleil, which is based in Montreal, has become a well-known organization worldwide, and it is also committed to community-based volunteer work to help improve welfare in communities overseas. Just recently, it has launched an NGO, named “One Drop,” which will be contributing to the development of water access in Africa. http://www.cirquedusoleil.com/CirqueDuSoleil/en/showstickets/alegria/TicketsGeneral/barcelona_benefit.htm On the Japan side, there seem to be interesting community developments such as coop activities among elderly people, and foreign observers are interested in what is happening in Japanese communities. In Japan, however, there are relatively few communities that are open to the outside world. By learning from Quebec, Japan should have more open community developments and interactions.
Finally, multi-cultural, multi-linguistic communities should be more fully developed and utilized in Japan, as in Quebec. While there is a Japanese way of educating its elite class, what is lacking there is a multi-cultural approach to train them to be global leaders. In this respect, Japanese education should become more diverse and liberalized, and more parent involvement needs to be encouraged. At the same time, Japan should be more open to immigration so that foreign language communities can be integrated into the mainstream of Japanese society. This would benefit both foreigners and Japanese in many ways. Reference: Quebec Government Delegation Office: http://www.mri.gouv.qc.ca/tokyo/fr/politique_internationale/politique_intern.asp