Okinawan radio station to support peace-keeping in East Timor

Okinawan radio station to support peace-keeping in East Timor

At FM Yomitan in Yomitan, an OPA staff member working in East Timor Yohei Higuchi training at FM Yomitan(two from left), and FM Yomitan president Asazi Nakasone(far right).

April 24, 2014 Ryukyu Shimpo

A community radio station of the Yomitan Village FM Yomitan began a project with nonprofit organization Okinawa Peace Assistance Center. They have set up a radio station in East Timor aimed at preventing conflict. The radio station starts broadcasting in September. FM Yomitan president Tomoharu Nakasone went to East Timor to set up the station, hoping the new radio initiative would aid the local community.

The station is a part of a grassroots peace project which Yomitan village and the OPA center started in 2010 under the Japan International Cooperation Agency. According to the center, this is the first time an Okinawa radio station has supported setting up a radio station in another country.

After a long struggle for independence, East Timor became an independent country in 2002. While the country has restored public order, high unemployment and poverty have become social concerns. The radio station was set up with the aim to create more employment and promote public communication to prevent conflicts. After establishing the radio station and working with 15 young adults from Comoro Village, the participants of the project will hand over the station to the community.

As well as sending Nakasone to represent FM Yomitan, the station also hosted a trainee working in East Timor. An OPA staff member working in East Timor Yosuke Higuchi visited FM Yomitan in March for training. He learned how to increase earnings and manage the radio station sustainably. Higuchi said, “FM Yomitan has the advantage of having 140 volunteers. Taking FM Yomitan as an example, I would like to make the radio station a hub of public communication.” Nakasone said, “The radio station can build trust with the local residents by broadcasting governmental information and sharing information among them. I am glad to be able to support the international contribution.”

(English translation by T&CT and Megumi Chibana)

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