Leave no woman behind


Mr. Lancaster

ISSH High School Track and Field Team

Mina, Writer

This year, the ISSH Track and Field team were invited to participate in the annual Mike Petty Invitational Meet in Okinawa held in April. The meet is hosted by Kubasaki High School, which is in the United States military base in Kubasaki. The accommodation for students and coaches is in Kadena, a different nearby base.

To get into the bases, there are strict identification requirements for security purposes. As one of the rules, the US military facilities have a Third Country list which applies to all visitors. If a visitor holds a passport of a country on the list, which is determined by the Pentagon in Washington D.C., up to 80 days are needed to get a clearance to enter the base.

The relationship between international schools and Department of Defense schools has been good in the past. Thus, in the Kanto Plain, the Third Country rule is not applied to students. This allows student athletes of any nationality from international schools in the Kanto area to participate in athletic and cultural events being held at the bases in the Tokyo region.

However, on Wednesday March 18, ISSH’s Athletic Director was informed by the military authorities that the Third Country rule would be enforced on students when entering the bases in Okinawa. As a result of this sudden change, an ISSH athlete would be unable to obtain entrance to the Okinawa bases due to her nationality. ISSH tried to obtain special permission for the student; however, as the decision is not determined locally, the request was denied. The military base advised ISSH to travel without the athlete as she would not be granted entry.

Subsequently, Mrs. Hayes, the headmistress, and Ms. Young, the high school principal, have made the decision of withdrawing the Track and Field team from the Mike Petty Meet. “It was a great meet because people do not have to qualify to go so everyone in the team can participate… it was a very big decision” said Ms. Young. Sacred Heart represents an international and multicultural community, therefore, it goes against what the school stands for to exclude a student on the grounds of nationality. In response to this decision, one of the athletes, Nana (11), said, “Although I’m really disappointed that we couldn’t go to Okinawa as it was the last outside of school “trip” with the seniors, I respect our school’s decision to not go.”

Despite the setback, athletes and coaches of ISSH continue the rest of the season with enthusiasm by enjoying their sport to the fullest as a team. Good luck to the athletes in their future meets.