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




I. Promotion of Cultural Diplomacy



The increasing interdependence among nations today makes it all the more important to promote broader mutual understanding among peoples in the international community. Indeed, cultural interchange to deepen mutual understanding of such heritages of other societies as languages, customs, and cultural traditions, is one of the most important means of laying the foundations for true peace. It is from this perspective that the Government of Japan intends to further promote cultural interchange activities in various fields through the Japan Foundation.

The world's leading nations, recognizing the importance of cultural interchange, are making efforts to expand their role in this field, with governmental and government-related organizations conducting a broad range of activities. Although the private sector is engaged in undertaking a wide scope of activities in cultural interchange in which their initiative and creativity must be utilized to the fullest, the high costs, specialized expertise, and a number of other factors needed for the implementation of cultural activities limit, as a matter of course, what the private sector can carry out alone. Being fully aware of the importance of cultural interchange, the Government is endeavoring to promote a well-balanced and effective program of cultural interchange on the whole, extending, as appropriate, the necessary assistance to private organizations for the furtherance of their cultural interchange programs.

Government contributions to the Japan Foundation established in October 1972 have been continuing steadily, and its capital fund reached \30 billion in FY 1976 with its budget amounting to \4.4 billion. Although activities of the Foundation are worldwide, Asia and North America account for the greater part, more than 50%, of the Foundation's disbursements.



II. Diversities of Cultural Interchange



In promoting these cultural interchanges it is equally imperative to endeavor to understand the cultures of other countries as well as to obtain their understanding toward Japan through such activities as introducing to foreign countries the Japanese language, mores, cultural heritage, and other underlying aspects of Japanese society. Especially in interchanges with those developing countries that are striving for a new nation building on the basis of their unique cultural heritages, it is also essential not only to promote the conventional forms of cultural interchange, but also to extend cultural and educational cooperation aimed at developing and encouraging culture and education in these countries. Accordingly, new budgetary measures have been taken since FY 1975 to grant aid for cultural cooperation.

Japan undertakes various forms of cultural interchange, such as the exchange of persons including dispatching Japanese scholars, artists, educators, athletes, and other individuals to foreign countries and inviting to Japan foreign Japanologists, scholars, artists, youth groups, and others. Other activities include exhibitions of Japanese art works, Japanese stage and musical performances, promotion of Japanese studies, and cooperation and assistance for the diffusion of Japanese language education.

At the same time, Japan is also active in dispatching experts to various countries and accepts fellows therefrom through such international organizations as UNESCO and the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization. In addition, activities to render services for foreign students studying in Japan and to invite to Japan those people from Southeast Asia who previously studied in Japan are also conducted as part of Japan's efforts for broader international cultural interchange.


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