Section 7. Promotion of International Mutual Understanding and Cultural Exchange


A look back at Japan's history over the 100 years since the Meiji Restoration, especially the more than 20 years after the War, shows that it has made great efforts and, at time, made great sacrifices in its relations with various foreign countries. Needless to say, Japan must endeavor to make even greater efforts to promote mutual understanding with various countries and make particular efforts for social and cultural exchange.

In its Constitution, Japan has renounced war and makes it the nation's supreme policy to play a positive role in international society as a peace-loving and cultural State. Therefore, the promotion of mutual understanding and friendship with other countries, which are prerequisites for lasting peace, should be the basis of Japan's diplomacy.

In this context, the most effective means of promoting mutual understanding and friendship is the promotion of cultural exchange. This is because heart-to-heart contacts through cultural exchange between various nations will correct misunderstandings and prejudices which tend to arise in international relations, and play an incalculable role in eliminating distrust and suspicions.

This is all the more important for Japan which finds it very difficult to make itself understood abroad because of its unique cultural traditions and the language barrier, and also because the Japanese people have come to play an active role in various parts of the world.

Meantime, in the developing countries, there is a rising awareness that, although economic development is important, it is necessary to achieve a well-balanced development and improvement in the social and cultural fields, and requests for Japan's cooperation in these fields have steadily increased.

Japan's diplomacy in the past has put emphasis mainly on the political and economic fields. Now is the time for it to promote cultural exchange which is, together with politics, economic affairs and economic cooperation, one of the four pillars of Japan's diplomatic policy.

The Government established the Japan Foundation in October 1972 from the standpoint of establishing a basis for conducting cultural diplomacy which is of such significance. The Foundation is already engaged in active cultural exchange projects, and various countries have expressed their goodwill and expectations toward the Foundation. Thus the Foundation helps improve the image of Japan held by other countries.

The Foundation is aimed at promoting the understanding of Japan among countries abroad and deepening international understanding and friendship and puts particular emphasis on the exchange of scholars and men of culture. The Government intends to strengthen and expand the activities of the Foundation and promote extensive cultural exchange centering on the exchange of persons mentioned above and also in providing assistance for Japanese studies abroad.


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