On the 18th and 19th of March 2016, a group of 26 students and 2 teachers from Seifu Nankai High School, Osaka, Japan made an academic visit to the Faculty of Built Environment (FAB), UTM, Johor Bahru. The group were led by Mr.Toshiyuki Iwawaki and Mr.Toyoda, teachers from the Comprehensive and International Department, Seifu Nankai High School. This was their second visit to FAB under the “Global Education Network Programme” in collaboration with the Centre for Innovative Planning and Development (CiPD), FAB, UTM, JB. The programme is intended to nurture young leaders to play an active role in the betterment of society. In order to achieve its intended goal, the students are required to acquire a wide range of knowledge through seminars focused on economics, societal, technological and political issues. Students participation from the Department of Urban and Regional Planning (DURP) were from Masters in Tourism Planning (10 students) and Bachelor of Urban and Regional Planning (3 students).

For the discussion session, four (4)  groups of students were formed where each group comprises of students from DURP and Seifu Nankai. The students were required to discuss a selected topic, compare the issues and formulate recommendations where relevant.  Among the topics were i) City Planning in Malaysia and Japan, ii) Malaysian/Japanese Culture; iii) Tourism in Malaysia and Japan, and, iv)Environmental Issues in Malaysia and Japan. Each group presented the topic and discussed to an audience comprising of the students themselves, teachers from Seifu Nankai High School and a lecturer from DURP.

Seifu Nankai High School is the first school in Japan selected for this new programme which was introduced in Japan High Schools as part of the Overseas Study Program (OSP).  The OSP is a sub-initiative of the Japan Government’s Super Global High School Program.  The visits provide a platform for student activities such as seminars, discussions, student exchange experience as well as academic visits from both countries. The two days activities ended with a tour in UTM campus led by Dr. Norhazliza Abd Halim, a senior lecturer from DURP.