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Japan police offer martial arts classes for tourists

By News from Elsewhere...
...as found by BBC Monitoring

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image captionVisitors can opt to learn judo throws or the art of kendo, which involves striking the opponent with a bamboo sword

A Japanese police force is offering martial arts classes to foreign tourists in a bid to build trust and improve officers' English proficiency, it's reported.

The initiative is taking place in the city of Matsue, Shimane Prefecture, and follows a trial involving international students, The Mainichi newspaper reports. Starting in March, foreign tourists will be invited to spend an hour learning the principles of judo and kendo, a martial art practised with bamboo swords. They'll be taught by police officers who hold black belts, the website says, and it's hoped the instructors will be able to converse in English, as happened in the trial.

The force says its martial arts classes are part of a programme to make the city safer and more tourist-friendly. Its website says participants will need to make sure they have accident insurance, just in case, but notes that equipment - including the kendo swords - can be borrowed at the police station. And there's a slightly more serene activity on offer after the class, when visitors are invited to join their instructors to watch the sun set over nearby Lake Shinji.

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  • BBC Monitoring
  • Japan