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YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan — Approximately 19 schools and 220 students will participate in 2004 Model United Nations Jan. 27 to Jan. 29 in Tokyo’s Shibuya district.

But sponsors and students need help making the event enjoyable for all participants.

“We’re looking for volunteers who can interpret, so that Japanese students can participate,” event sponsor Evelyn Sasamoto of Yokota High School said.

According to Sasamoto, this is the first year the event, traditionally held on Okinawa or in South Korea, will take place in Tokyo.

This year’s event consists of three days of sessions featuring four Model U.N. committee meetings.

“A minimum of eight people are needed, if they’re willing to volunteer three days,” Sasamoto said.

“If not, we may need double or triple that.”

She said those trained in simultaneous translation are especially needed in order to take advantage of some of the amenities U.N. University has to offer.

During the event, students portray diplomats from a variety of countries to learn about international politics.

Sasamoto said a 5 p.m. Jan. 26 reception at Tokyo’s New Sanno hotel may offer students an opportunity to meet the diplomats they are portraying.

“That should really kick this off,” she said.

While Model U.N. is going on, some students will serve as “reporters” and try to publish a daily online newspaper, “so people back home can see what’s going on,” Sasamoto said.

Sasamoto said students have to pay for hotel rooms as well as hire a professional soundboard technician to operate U.N. University’s sophisticated equipment.

Yokota students have raised $3,000 already, but the expenses still exceed that amount, she said.

“We really want to make this a fantastic experience for all kids,” she said.

For more information or to volunteer, contact Sasamoto by leaving a message at Yokota High School by calling DSN 225-7018 or e-mail her at: evelyn_sasamoto@pac.odedodea.edu.

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