Section 4. Promotion of Mutual Under standing 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. As interdependence among nations increases today, it has become more and more important to strengthen heart-to-heart contacts among nations by promoting, through cultural exchanges, mutual understanding of the basic factors which form the foundation of each nation, such as language, customs and cultural traditions.

It is the intention of the Japanese government to expand and strengthen various cultural exchange activities, mainly through the Japan Foundation, as a major part of its diplomatic efforts.

Major countries of the world have recognized the importance of cultural exhanges and the governments themselves or their related agencies are actively engaged in the promotion of activities in this area.

While it is recognized that the private sector should play the primary role in promoting cultural exchanges and that its initiative should be fully respected, it is also necessary to provide a basis for supplementing non-governmental activities and facilitating their smooth implementation, since some programs will inevitably require such massive funding or highly technical knowledge as to make it impossible for non-governmental organizations to undertake them unassisted. From this point of view, the government established the Japan Foundation in October 1972 to carry out cultural exchange programs systematically, effectively and on as table basis. Since its establishment, the Japan Foundation has undertaken various forms of activities such as personnel exchanges (dispatching Japanese scholars, artists, sports instructors and other persons engaged in cultural activities to foreign countries and inviting foreign Japanologists, scholars, artists and others to Japan), exhibitions of Japanese works of art, Japanese theatrical stage and musical performances, promotion of Japanese studies, and cooperation and assistance for the dissemination of the Japanese language. Accordingly, the government has gradually increased its endowment to the Japan Foundation to bring the foundation endowment for fiscal 1978 to \40 billion. The Japan Foundation's budget for fiscal 1978 was about \4.9 billion. The foundation's programs cover almost all parts of the world, Asia and North America taking about 50% of the total budget of the foundation. In addition to these cultural exchange activities through the Japan Foundation, the government extends cooperation to UNESCO and other international organizations, such as the Southeast Asian Education Ministers Organization, in various forms including the exchange of specialists, and receiving fellows. Its cultural exchange activities also include rendering services for foreign students studying in Japan, inviting to Japan Southeast Asians who previously studied in Japan, and youth exchanges.

In promoting cultural exchanges, it is necessary as a matter of course to promote foreign peoples understanding of Japan by introducing Japanese culture abroad. At the same time, it is also necessary to make efforts to understand the culture of other countries. Particularly in cultural exchanges with developing countries which are undertaking new nation-building on the basis of their unique cultural traditions, it is important not to introduce one-sidedly Japanese culture into these countries but to make special efforts to introduce these countries' cultures into Japan in order to create a real basis for better mutual understanding. The government intends to intensify these efforts.

Furthermore, with the developing countries, it is also necessary not only to promote the conventional forms of cultural exchange but to extend cooperation which will contribute to the enrichment of culture and promotion of education in these countries. Accordingly, the government has taken new budgetary measures since fiscal 1975 to provide grant aids for cultural cooperation. The ASEAN cultural fund was created in 1978, on the basis of an agreement among ASEAN countries, with the objective of promoting ASEAN's intra-regional cultural cooperation, in pursuance of the proposal made by the then Prime Minister Takeo Fukuda on the occasion of his visit to the ASEAN countries and Burma in August 1977. Japan expressed its intention to contribute \5 billion to the fund. Of the sum Japan pledged, the government contributed \2 billion to the fund in December 1978.


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