Section 5. Promotion of Mutual Understanding and Cultural Interchange with Foreign Countries


1. Importance of the Promotion of Mutual Understanding


In the international community of today, where interdependence among nations is increasing, it is becoming ever more important to achieve an adequate degree of mutual understanding and cooperation as well as to secure harmony among peoples in the political and economic fields. It is an indispensable task for Japan, which is following the principle of peace diplomacy, to establish friendly relations based on close heart-to-heart contacts with other nations that can endure changes in the political and economic fields.


2. Diversity of Cultural Interchange


In undertaking cultural interchange, it is also essential to try to understand the cultures of other countries as well as to carry out diverse activities to actively introduce the way of thinking, the way of life, science, arts, crafts, and other aspects of Japan to foreign countries in order to obtain their understanding. Toward developing countries, which are undertaking new nation-building efforts on the basis of their own traditions, it is especially necessary not only to promote conventional cultural interchange but also to extend assistance in teaching and cultural materials as well as to offer cultural and educational cooperation for the improvement of cultural facilities and for the preservation of historic remains with a view to developing and promoting culture and education in those countries.

Japan undertakes various forms of cultural interchange, such as the exchange of persons including dispatching Japanese scholars, artists, sports leaders and others to foreign countries and inviting Japanologist, scholars, and artists interested in Japan from foreign countries, exhibitions of Japanese works of art, Japanese dramatic and musical performances, promotion of Japanese studies abroad, cooperation and assistance for the diffusion of the Japanese language, the supply of publications and audio-visual materials, and cooperation in the preparation of audio-visual teaching materials introducing Japan. It is also important in the pro-motion of the exchange of persons to give consideration to foreign students in Japan and to invite to Japan those people of Southeast Asia who previously studied in Japan. Japan also dispatches experts to various countries and accepts fellows there from through international organizations such as UNESCO and the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization.


3. Expansion of Interchange and Cooperation with Cultural Exchange Organizations


Japan established the Japan Foundation in October 1972 in order to effectively carry out cultural interchange with foreign countries in a systematic and stable manner. Government contributions to the Foundation have been gradually added, and its capital fund attained more than \30,000 million in fiscal 1975, with its budget amounting to more than \3,400 million. The Foundation is engaged in such activities as the exchange of persons, promotion of and assistance for Japanese studies, diffusion of the Japanese language, holding of and assistance for exhibitions and performances, and preparation and distribution of materials.

In 1975, the Foundation promoted cultural interchange with Southeast Asia through the organization of a seminar on cultural exchange with Southeast Asian countries in March and April by inviting people of learning and experience from these countries, and through the holding of a "Week of Asian Traditional Performing Arts" by inviting experts in the traditional performing arts from the Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia.

Activities of the Japan Foundation cover the whole world, although Asia and North America account for the greater part.

In conducting cultural interchange, the Foundation pays attention to maintaining harmony with cultural exchange activities undertaken by private organizations and endeavors, on the whole, to promote a well-balanced and effective program of cultural interchange.


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