Section 5. Promoting International Understanding in the Advanced Information Society



With the increasing interdependence of the international society and the rapid advances being made in the means of information processing and communications, the world is being steadily brought more closely together by ever-expanding information networks.

Given the conspicuous improvement in Japan's standing in the international community in recent years, not only is it necessary for Japan to be fully aware of world developments and to have access to up-to-the-minute information on the international situation, it is also extremely important that other countries be fully and accurately informed on the situation in Japan. Accordingly, Japan has been making continuing efforts in its external public information activities to provide accurate information about Japan's circumstances and policies and to ensure that people everywhere are better informed about this country.

The promotion of cultural exchanges and efforts to strengthen mutual understanding and friendly relations with the peoples of all lands are crucial to preserving and developing the foundations for long-term, stable relations with the other countries of the world.

Working from this perspective, Japan has already concluded cultural agreements with some 32 countries, and consultations on possible cultural exchange were conducted with eight countries in 1983. In addition, the Japan Foundation, a special corporation under Ministry of Foreign Affairs jurisdiction, conducted a variety of cultural exchange projects including exchanges of persons and programs to promote Japanese language education. Cultural grant aid projects designed to assist the spread of education and culture in the developing countries, projects to help preserve historically important sites, and other projects were implemented by the Ministry in 1983.

Recognizing that a strong foreign policy is possible in a democracy only with the broad support and understanding of the people, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has tried to keep the public informed on Japan's diplomatic activities and has been actively cooperating with the media and other public information programs to enable the people to better understand the international situation and Japan's foreign policy.

Strengthening cultural and public information activities designed to promote international understanding of Japan and encouraging broad Japanese understanding and support for foreign policy are important factors for further consolidating the foundations for a vigorous Japanese foreign policy.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has thus sought to further strengthen its capacity for cultural and public information activities by, for example, organizing the Cultural and Public Relations Advisory Committee in March 1983 to incorporate private-sector initiatives in its cultural and public information activities and establishing the Coordinating Committee to Promote International Exchanges for the purpose of providing positive Ministry support for the various international exchange activities of the local governments. Thus the Ministry has reinforced its cooperative ties with the private sector and local government bodies and enhanced and expanded its domestic public information activities.


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