Chapter VII. Cultural Exchange and Public Information



Section 1. Present State of Cultural Exchange Activities



1.  Overview


(1)  It is of vital importance to promote cultural exchanges with other countries and deepen broad mutual understanding, friendship and goodwill among the peoples of Japan and other countries to maintain and develop relations with foreign countries on a long-term and stable foundation. The role of cultural exchange is growing in its importance today, when Japan is experiencing a variety of frictions with foreign countries and misunderstandings on Japan or the perception gap are often cited as helping to generate these frictions.

Japan, from this point of view, has been making strenuous efforts to promote cultural exchanges with foreign countries, including conclusions of cultural agreements, consultations on cultural exchanges, youth exchange projects, cultural projects through the Japan Foundation, a special corporation under jurisdiction of the Foreign Ministry, and grant cultural assistance.

(2)  As the framework for cultural exchanges, the Foreign Ministry concludes cultural agreements with other countries and holds consultations on cultural exchanges on the basis of these accords. In fiscal 1986, the Ministry signed a cultural agreement with the Soviet Union on May 31, and held consultations on cultural exchange with 11 countries.

As for cultural exchange projects, the Foreign Ministry, in cooperation with the Ministries of Education and Home Affairs and local governments, launched the " Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET)" program for inviting university graduates mainly as language instructors at local schools. It also expanded the scope of projects for exchange of persons including an enlargement of the youth invitation program to include Pacific island countries. It also held large-scale " Japan Week" events in Turkey and Egypt.

The Japan Foundation is undertaking a broad range of activities, such as exchanges of persons, diffusion of the Japanese language, promotion of Japanese studies, artistic performances and exhibitions. The Foundation spent about \5.3 billion on these cultural activities in fiscal 1986.

Private-sector organizations and local governments have also become very active in international cultural exchanges in recent years. The Government is making efforts to intensify collaboration and cooperation with their activities.



2.  Strengthening of Base for Cultural Exchange with Other Countries


Japan has concluded cultural agreements with 25 countries, including the "Japan-Soviet Union Cultural Agreement" signed on May 31, 1986, when Foreign Minister Shintaro Abe visited that country, and also have cultural arrangements with nine other countries, including East European countries.

In fiscal 1986, Japan held consultations on cultural exchanges as follows.

The Ninth Japan-Federal Republic of Germany Cultural Mixed Committee (April, Bonn)

The Third Japan-Finland Cultural Consultations (April, Helsinki)

The 12th Japan-France Mixed Cultural Commission (June, Paris)

The 13th Japan-United States Conference on Cultural and Educational Interchange (CULCON) (July, Tokyo)

The Fourth Japan-Canada Cultural Consultations (September, Vancouver)

The First Japan-Argentina Cultural Consultations (September, Buenos Aires)

The Fifth Japan-Mexico Cultural Mixed Committee (September, Mexico City)

The Fifth Japan-Belgium Mixed Cultural Committee (October, Tokyo)

The Second Japan-Netherlands Cultural Consultations (November, the Hague)

The 11th Japan-United Kingdom Mixed Cultural Commission (November, Edinburgh)

The Third Japan-Korea Working-Level Conference on Cultural Exchange (December, Seoul)



3.  Cultural Exchange Projects of the Japan Foundation


Projects of the Japan Foundation are being undertaken under the direction and supervision of the Foreign Ministry and also in close collaboration with diplomatic establishments overseas. As the core of Japan's undertakings for international cultural exchanges, these projects have been producing solid results.


(1)  Exchange of Persons

(a)  Sending of Persons

In fiscal 1986, the Foundation sent 98 sports experts to developing countries, and also sent a total of 206 scholars and persons with cultural expertise overseas.

(b)  Invitation of Persons

The Japan Foundation invited to Japan 98 scholars on Japanese studies, 89 prominent-persons and 77 other experts in cultural, educational and sports fields in fiscal 1986. In addition, 248 junior high and high school teachers from 36 countries were invited to observe educational conditions and other aspects of Japan.


(2)  Diffusion of Japanese Language

An estimated 580,000 people are studying the Japanese language at educational institutions all over the world, arid the number is increasing steadily. The increase in those learning the Japanese language is particularly remarkable in the member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), China and South Korea.

The diffusion of the Japanese language is the Japan Foundation's central undertaking. It has started work on the construction of an International Center for the Japanese Language to further strengthen and upgrade its project for the greater use of the Japanese language in the future.


(3)  Promotion of Japanese Studies

The Japan Foundation provided a wide range of assistance for the promotion of Japanese studies all over the world in fiscal year 1986, including the sending of 51 scholars and other experts to universities and other institutions in 14 countries.


(4)  Performances and Exhibitions

The Foundation sponsored two performances overseas by performing arts groups and subsidized 50 other performances in fiscal 1986. It sponsored 19 overseas exhibitions and subsidized 11, and also participated in four international exhibitions.

Among performances, an Okinawan dance troupe was sent to Southeast Asia, while a Kobe chamber ensemble went to South Korea. The Foundation also extended support for the performance of a Japanese drum troupe "KODO" in Asia, of the Kita Noh troupe in North America and of "Medea" in North America and Europe.


(5)  Audiovisual Projects

The Foundation sponsored the itinerant showing of the films by Akira Kurosawa in Asia and of "young cinema" films in Australia, and also cooperated, in conjunction with diplomatic establishments abroad, for film festivals in Turkey, Egypt, the Soviet Union and other countries.

Other activities in this area included the offering of Japanese television programs for overseas broadcasting, and assistance for making overseas versions of television programs and cultural films, including the well-acclaimed movie "Inochi (Lives)."


(6)  Library Support and Others

The Foundation donated 12,659 books, microfilms, slides and other materials to 217 institutions in 67 countries in fiscal 1986. It also subsidized the publication overseas of 49 books on Japan.



4.  Cultural Projects by Diplomatic Establishments


Japanese diplomatic establishments overseas plan and undertake cultural projects of their own according to circumstances in their respective locations. In fiscal 1986, a total of 822 projects, such as lecture meetings, concerts and Japanese speech contests, were carried out with a budget of \136 million.



5.  Cultural and Educational Cooperation with Developing Countries


(1)  Cultural Grant Aid

Japan provided \1,477 million in 38 cultural grant aids in fiscal 1986 to contribute to the promotion of culture and education in developing countries.


(2)  ASEAN Youth Scholarship

In fiscal 1986, the seventh year of the scholarship, Japan contributed $1 million to help increase educational opportunities of the competent young people in the ASEAN nations.


(3)  Japanese Language Study Program for Young Foreign Service Officers of the Asian and Pacific Region

Japan invited 10 young foreign service officers from 10 countries in the Asia-Pacific region in fiscal 1986 to provide them with an opportunity to learn the Japanese language and the state of affairs in Japan in general.


(4)  Cooperation toward SEAMEO

In fiscal 1986, Japan provided $170,000 and also sent experts as cooperation for the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization (SEAMEO).


(5)  Cooperation for Preservation of Ancient Ruins

Japan contributed $100,000 in fiscal 1986 to a project to preserve and develop the ruins of Mohenjo-daro in Pakistan. The sum brought Japan's cumulative contributions to UNESCO's international projects for preserving the ruins to $900,000.


(6)  Cultural and Social Center for the Asian and Pacific Region

Japan contributed $90,000 to the Cultural and Social Center for the Asian and Pacific Region in fiscal 1986 and participated in the Center's various activities.



6.  Other Cultural Exchange Projects


(1)  Education Exchange

(a)  Exchange of Students

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in cooperation with the Ministry of Education, recruits and selects government-sponsored foreign students wishing to study in Japan. Japanese diplomatic establishments overseas also provide information and advice on foreign students who wish to come to Japan on their own. As of May 1986, about 18,000 foreign students are studying in Japan.

In fiscal 1986, the Ministry sponsored the 13th Reunion of Former Students in Japan from Southeast Asia and extended various forms of assistance to organizations of former students in ASEAN nations.

(b)  British English Teaching Scheme/JET Program

The Foreign Ministry invited 52 teachers of English from the United Kingdom in fiscal 1986, and sent them to schools and corporations.

The British English Teaching Scheme, which started in fiscal 1978, was restructured into the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) program from fiscal 1987. The JET program is designed to invite about 850 English instructors from the United Kingdom, the United States, Australia and New Zealand, and the Ministry started the recruitment and selection of candidates in fiscal 1986.

(c)  Japan-U.S. Educational Interchange

Japan participates in the administration of the Japan-United States Educational Commission to undertake joint projects based on the so-called Fulbright program.


(2)  Academic Exchange

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs cooperates with the Ministry of Education and the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science in their projects for academic exchanges with Europe, North America, Southeast Asia, China and other countries.


(3)  Youth, Sports Exchange

In fiscal 1986, the Foreign Ministry invited to Japan a total of 470 youth from Europe, Asia, Latin America, Africa and Pacific island countries. The Ministry also contributed about $280,000 to the United States' Japan-U.S. Special Exchange Program, under which 100 American high school students came to Japan to stay with Japanese host families throughout the country for about two months. In addition, the Foreign Ministry is supporting international youth exchange programs such as "Youth Ship" and "Southeast Asia Youth Ship" projects being sponsored by the Management and Coordination Agency, local governments and various youth organizations.

In the field of sports, the Ministry held the "World Sports Coach Summit" in fiscal 1986, and is carrying out various other undertakings, including activities through the International Sports Information Center and the publication of " The International Sports" through the International Hospitality and Conference Service Association. It also supports the sending of Japanese delegations to international sports meetings, the sending and invitations of athletes by sports organizations and mountaineering parties overseas.



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