Section 4. Promotion of Mutual Understanding and Cultural Exchange with Foreign Countries



Cultural exchange with other countries is a very important means of deepening understanding of Japan and promoting international friendship and goodwill. With interdependence among nations on the increase, it has become more and more important to promote mutual understanding of such social premises as language, custom, and cultural traditions and to strengthen heart-to-heart contacts through cultural exchange. Accordingly, the Government has made the expansion and strengthening of various cultural exchange activities through the Japan Foundation and other institutions a major part of its diplomatic efforts.

Most countries of the world have recognized the importance of cultural exchange and have been making active efforts through their Governments and non-governmental organizations to expand such exchanges. Yet while the Government obviously needs to respect the primary role of non-government-oriented activities in promoting cultural exchange, the Government should also provide a basis supplementing these non-governmental exchanges and facilitating their smooth implementation, since some activities will inevitably require such massive funding or highly technical knowledge as to make it impossible to undertake them unassisted.

The Japan Foundation, established in October 1972 to promote cultural exchange, undertakes various forms of activities such as personnel exchanges (dispatching Japanese scholars, artists, professionals, sports instructors, and other individuals to foreign countries and inviting foreign Japanologists, scholars, artists, and others to Japan), 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. The Government has annually increased its endowment to the Japan Foundation to bring the Foundation endowment for FY 1977 to \35 billion. The Foundation's budget for FY 1977 was about \4.2 billion. The Foundation's programs cover almost all parts of the world, and about half of its total budget is allocated to Asian and North American projects. In addition to these cultural exchange activities through the Foundation, Japanese cultural exchange activities also include cooperation in dispatching experts to various countries, accepting fellows through UNESCO and other international organizations, rendering services for foreign students studying in Japan, hosting reunions of Southeast Asian people who previously studied in Japan, and sponsoring youth exchanges.

In promoting cultural exchange, it is necessary to make efforts to understand other countries' cultures as well as to promote their understanding of Japan through introducing the Japanese language, customs and cultural traditions to people in these nations. Particularly in cultural exchange with developing countries undertaking new nation-building on the basis of their unique cultural traditions, it is important not to one-sidedly introduce Japanese culture into these countries but to make special efforts to introduce these countries' culture into Japan in order to establish a basis for better mutual understanding. With the developing countries, it is also necessary to extend cultural and educational cooperation as well as to promote the conventional forms of cultural exchange. Accordingly, the Government has taken new budgetary measures since FY 1975 to provide aid for cultural cooperation. During the course of Prime Minister Fukuda's visit to the ASEAN countries and Burma in August 1977, he stated in his joint communique with the ASEAN Heads of Governments that Japan was prepared to contribute to ASEAN's intra-regional efforts, including an appropriate amount of financial cooperation, to promote cultural exchange within ASEAN. A joint study group has since been set up by Japan and the ASEAN countries to study what forms this Japanese cooperation should take.



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