Section 5. Promotion of International Exchange


1. Promotion of Mutual Understanding


Mutual understanding forms a basis for a stable and friendly development of the international community. Political and economic relations never consolidate without mutual exchange with other countries at various levels in various fields. A number of examples show that a lack of mutual understanding may cause overreaction to trivial political disputes.

To facilitate diplomatic policies in the international community today it is thus indispensable, especially for Japan, to deepen mutual understanding among nations and their peoples. Japan has rapidly increased its national power to such a level that it has a major influence on the world economy and international politics. An absence of understanding of the conception structure and sense of value of a country which can influence the world trend may produce an international image of Japan as a "mysterious power." Moreover, Japan's economic image is feared to be stressed too much. Well-balanced understanding of Japan will be promoted only with a broad understanding of Japanese culture, history, geography, social structure, Japanese people's ways of thinking and emotional ups and downs.

At the same time as it needs foreign countries' thorough understanding of Japan, Japan should deepen its own understanding of foreign countries to build a basis for stable, amicable relations. If we Japanese do not know well about foreign countries' politics and economy as well as their history, culture and value systems, we could take dogmatic views of foreign countries. Mutual understanding also has a significance of changing the ways of thinking and behavior into those needed for a peaceful coexistence in the international community.

From these standpoints, the Foreign Ministry has made strenuous efforts to ensure better mutual understanding through cooperation with media and publicity activities both at home and abroad.


(1) Cooperation with Media

The Foreign Ministry provides the Japanese news media, foreign correspondents stationed in Tokyo and other foreign news media with information on Japanese foreign policies and the international situation by the Minister for Foreign Affairs and other ranking ministry officials through press conferences or other means. When the Prime Minister and/or the Foreign Minister visit foreign countries, the Foreign Ministry arranges briefings and press conferences for Japanese reporters accompanying them and media people of the host nations as well as foreign correspondents stationed there.


(2) Domestic Public Relations

The Foreign Ministry undertakes a broad range of public information activities at home to promote understanding of international affairs and Japan's foreign policies.

The Ministry holds "One-Day Foreign Ministry" (lectures by the Foreign Minister and other senior officials, held in Toyama July 1987) and "Mini Foreign Ministry" (Lectures by senior officials. Held in Kagawa and Nagano Prefectures in January and February 1988 respectively). It also organizes a variety of lectures, distributes publications and cooperates in production of television programs.


(3) Support for the "Internationalization of Local Communities"

In recent years, developments in the internationalization of local communities have gained nationwide momentum, as indicated by the establishment in local governments of sections in charge of international exchange, an increase of sister-city affiliations at the local government level and increase in other international exchange activities of both the local government and the private-sector level. Today, it is becoming all the more important for the Japanese to promote internationalization of their mode of thinking, namely, to accept foreign things with a generous mind and to actively absorb what should be learnt. In this regard, the trend toward "internationalization of local communities" is welcome and the Foreign Ministry has lent support and cooperation to these activities.

The Foreign Ministry established the "Counseling Center for Internationalization" in February 1986, which serves as a contact point for local governments and the private sector, to answer inquiries on international exchange and to provide support for establishing sister-city affiliations, The Ministry also sends a "Counseling Caravan for Internationalization" in which Ministry officials visit local communities and answer inquiries firsthand (eight caravans were sent in fiscal 1987).


(4) Overseas Public Information Activities

(a) Basic Ideas

The maintenance and development of friendship and goodwill relations with foreign countries through promotion of mutual understanding is a significant basis for the existence and prosperity of Japan. In this sense, overseas public information activities which helps foster a correct recognition and understanding of actual conditions and policies of Japan is one of the main pillars of Japan's foreign policies, along with politics, economy and economic cooperation.

With the improvement of Japan's position in the international community, foreign interest in Japan has been rising fast. Especially, in view of economic frictions observed in recent years with the United States and Europe, it is necessary to strengthen Japan's capability of transmitting information on Japan to foreign countries in order not to cause perception gaps.

(b) Main Tasks

(i) Economic Friction with the United States and Europe

In addition to its continued efforts for domestic demand expansion and structural adjustment, Japan needs to raise foreign countries' understanding of these efforts, thereby forestalling worsened and more complicated frictions with these countries, which may be caused by misunderstanding or a lack of understanding.

With these in mind, the Foreign Ministry is undertaking a wide variety of activities - inviting opinion leaders and media people, holding lectures and symposiums (diplomatic missions in the United States have conducted the "Campaign for 1,000 Lectures and Speeches") and contributing to major newspapers.

(ii) Closer Cooperation Between Government and Private Sector

While increasing their advance overseas, private corporations need to harmonize with local communities in foreign countries as Good Corporate Citizens and improve their corporate image. In order to exchange views on public information and cultural activities, including exchanges with local communities, the Foreign Ministry held a government-private sector joint conference on overseas public information activities in December 1987 and an international symposium in March 1988.

The Ministry intends to continue supporting such programs, fully aware that the image of a nation is formed not only by the governmental activities but broad exchange among people, including coporate activities described above, as well.

(iii) Enlightenment of Wide Range of Foreign Citizens

It is a fundamental work of public information activities to enlighten a wide range of foreign citizens on Japan. The Foreign Ministry has organized "Japan Week" programs, a large-scale presentation of lectures and cultural events to introduce Japan from various aspects. Of particular importance from a medium- and long-term viewpoint is public information activities in the education field, that is, introducing Japan to teachers and the youth who will assume responsibility in the coming age.

(iv) Promoting Understanding of Japan through Audiovisual Methods

Taking into account the remarkable development of popularization of solving television broadcasting today, Japan should make positive use of audiovisual methods to promote foreign countries' understanding of Japan. Offering TV programs for overseas broadcasting stations will be one of such activities.


2. Cultural Exchange


(1) Overview

(a) Idea

Cultural exchange fosters tolerance of different cultures, thereby leading to the achievement of international harmony and world peace. Exchange among diverse cultures provides a stimulus for the invigoration of the international community and the vitality for development.

In order to respond positively to increasing interest in Japan from abroad, which stems from its improved international position, and to enrich the global culture, Japan needs to make cultural contributions commensurate with its national power on the international stage.

Cultural exchange raises foreign countries' understanding of Japan and helps ease various kinds of friction. And at the same time, it promotes Japan's understanding of foreign countries and its internationalization as well as enrich Japanese culture through contacts with different cultures.

(b) Overview

From this point of view, Japan has been making strenuous efforts to promote international cultural exchanges not only through conclusions of cultural agreements and consultations on cultural exchanges, but also through programs for exchange of persons, presentation of Japanese culture and cultural cooperation.

In fiscal 1987, Japan concluded a cultural agreement with the Soviet Union, which took effect on December 25. It also had consultations on cultural exchanges with five countries. Japan dispatched cultural missions to Eastern Europe and Southeast Asia. As for the exchange of persons, the Foreign Ministry started an invitation program from advanced countries aimed at further promoting mutual understanding and easing various functions with the other. Under the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program, the Ministry invited about 850 teachers of English from the United States, Britain and other nations. It also held the "World Sports Coach Summit II." There were also several large-scale cultural events, like commemorative events of the centenary of the Signing of the Declaration of Amity and Commerce between Japan and Thailand, in which Japan participated actively.

The Japan Foundation, a special corporation under jurisdiction of the Foreign Ministry responsible for government-level international cultural exchanges, celebrated the 15th anniversary of its founding. In commemoration, the Foundation sponsored an international symposium, "Toward a Culturally International Community," by inviting experts from the United States, France and Malaysia.

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) Consolidating the Basis for the Promotion of Cultural Exchanges

(a) Cultural Agreements and Consultations on Cultural Exchange

Japan has concluded cultural agreements with 25 countries and also has cultural arrangements with eight other countries, including East European countries. The Japan-Soviet Union Cultural Agreement took effect on Decemer 25, 1987, when the two countries exchanged ratification instruments in Tokyo.

In fiscal 1987, Japan held consultations on cultural exchange with Australia, China, Egypt and India, as well as a steering committee meeting of the Japan-U.S. Conference on Cultural and Educational Interchange.

(b) Dispatch of Cultural Missions

In order to seek ways to promote cultural exchanges, the Foreign Ministry sent a mission on cultural exchange and cooperation to the countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in November 1987 and another mission to East Europe in November and December that year, which visited Yugoslavia, East Germany, Poland and Hungary.

(c) Lower Tax on International Exchange Activities

Since April 1988, the government has implemented a tax reduction for international exchange activities, exempting from taxation the corporate and individual contributions to public corporations mainly in charge of international exchange.


(3) Cultural Exchange Programs

The Foreign Ministry is sponsoring such programs cited below under close cooperation with the organizations concerned. (Figures with no special notes are for fiscal 1987)

(a) Exchange of Persons

  Scholarship Award

�  JET (Japan Exchange and Teaching) Program

�  Youth Invitation Program

�  Japan-U.S. Special Exchange Program

�  World Sport Coach Summit II

�  Japanese Language Study Program for Foreign Service Officers of the Asia-Pacific Region

�  Japan-U.S. Exchange Program (The Fulbright Program)


(b) Presentation of Culture


(c) Cultural Cooperation Program


(4) Cultural Exchange through the Japan Foundation

As a central body of government-level international cultural exchange, the Japan Foundation is undertaking such program described below under supervision and cooperation of the Foreign Ministry.


Japanese Sent Overseas

�  Scholars and Artists Program

�  Sports Instructors Touring Program

�  Japanese-Language Lecturers Abroad Program

�  Visiting Professorship Program

Invitations to Japan

�  Fellowship Program

�  Short-Term and Group Study Tours Program

�  Secondary-School Educators Study-Tout Program

�  Training Program for Foreign Teachers of the Japanese Language


3. Internationalization and Flow of People


(1) Overview

(a) With the upgrading of Japan's economic power and international role, the number of Japanese people traveling abroad has been rapidly increasing and the pattern of overseas travel has been diversified today. The number exceeded 6.8 million to a record in 1987, rising from 5.5 million in 1986. Japanese residents, permanent residents and long-term residents, the latter refers to those who stay over three months without any intention of staying permanently abroad have also been on the rise, nearing 500,000. Today, one out of every 10 Japanese has a passport.

Meanwhile, the number of foreigners visiting or staying in Japan has reached two million a year and their scope of activities have been expanded. Japan's internationalization is now developing from the area of trade of goods to reach that of human interaction.

Traveling and living abroad, which could be described as a symbol of "external" internationalization, are no longer a matter of concern only for limited people in limited areas but for the Japanese public in general. Under such circumstances, it is important for the government to arrange an environment where long-term Japanese residents abroad can live with relief in their hearts. The government is considering playing a particularly active role in the fields of safety, education and medical treatment because the private sector's self-help efforts are limited in these areas.

Bearing in mind that the Japanese emigrants and their descendants residing in various parts of the world assume positive roles in promoting international cooperation and exchange between Japan and the countries they live in, the Government recognizes the need to enhance policies further in this direction.

How to handle the problems in dealing with the increasing number of foreigners entering Japan, will serve as a key indicator showing the degree of "internal" internationalization of Japanese society, at the same time, it has become indispensable for Japan to pay due diplomatic consideration in dealing with this problem because it is no longer a domestic issue, but one affecting Japan's relations with other Asian countries directly, thus affecting Japan's image abroad.

(b) Also increasing is the number of Japanese who get involved in emergencies abroad such as war, civil war and natural disasters and those who become victims in international terrorism and other crimes.

During the year starting from April 1987, large-scale accidents took place one after another. Among them were: the crash of a South African Airways jumbo jet, the downing of a South Korean jetliner, missile attacks on capital cities in the Iran-Iraq conflict, major changes in the Panamanian situation and the train collision in Shanghai (which claimed many lives of Japanese high school students on a school excursion).

In the face of such accidents, the Foreign Ministry, under a 24-hour service, devotes itself to protecting and assisting Japanese nationals abroad. It is also making various efforts to ensure the safety of the Japanese abroad, by offering all available information in advance, improving telecommunications networks in preparation for emergencies and promoting international cooperation to check international terrorism, as a member of the annual summit meeting of seven major industrialized democracies.

(c) The Foreign Ministry, through visa issuance works, is making efforts to cope smoothly and aptly with a sharp increase of foreigners visiting Japan and their diversifying activities. In addition to national interests in such fields as defense and public peace, the Ministry should take into consideration the prevention of high-technology transfer abroad and international terrorism, and regulations on contact with South Africa which maintains the apartheid racial segregation policy.

(d) With a sharp increase of foreigners who enter and stay in Japan, the problem of foreign workers, notably illegal workers, has emerged as a new problem awaiting an early solution.

(e) For the Japanese living abroad, securing education of their children and medical care as well as their physical safety are also important problems. The Foreign Ministry continues to extend financial assistance and implement other measures in this respect. It helped the establishment of new Japanese schools in Shanghai and Islamabad in 1987.

(f) Upon a request from the Prime Minister, the Emigration Council, a governmental advisory body on emigration policy, began studying a wide range of aspects relating to a rapid increase of Japanese nationals traveling or residing overseas from a viewpoint of comprehensive emigration policy. Of the three major problems that demand solution under new approaches, the Council submitted in September 1987, as a matter of urgency, a report on the ways to secure the safety of Japanese living abroad, separating it from the test of the problems. It compiled a joint report in July 1988 on the other two topics - education of children and medical care for Japanese long-term visitors abroad, and emigration together with the problems arising from increased international exchange of personnel in various field.


(2) Security Measures for Japanese Abroad

The number of troubles and accidents handled by the government in fiscal 1987 amounted to 5,879 cases involving 7,094 people, and those killed or injured numbered 614. (The number of cases reported was an increase of 53% from the previous year and the number of people showed a 68% rise.) Among large-scale accidents and emergencies that occurred in that year were the crash of a South African Airways jetliner in November 1987, the train collision in Shanghai in March 1988 and the aggravated situation in the Iran-Iraq conflict.

Faced with these accidents and emergencies, the Foreign Ministry gave the measures described below in order to protect the lives, bodies and properties of Japanese abroad.

(a) South African Airways Jet Crash

On November 28, 1987, a South African Airways jetliner with 159 people aboard, including 47 Japanese, crashed into the sea off Mauritius. The Foreign Ministry issued emergency passports to 141 relatives of the victims, dispatched officials from the diplomatic and consular missions near the scene of the accident and sent experts of forensic dentistry for identification of the victims. A Japanese expert joined the investigation committee, which, with eight members from six nations, is continuing investigation into the cause of the jet crash.

(b) Train Collision in Shanghai

A total of 28 people were killed and 36 injured when two trains collided head-on in the suburbs of Shanghai on March 24, 1988. (The death toll includes one who died later during treatment in Japan.) A group of 193 Japanese were on one of the two trains - students and teachers of Kochi Gakugei High School in Kochi Prefecture who were on a school excursion.

The Foreign Ministry set up headquarters to cope with the aftermath of the train accident each in Tokyo and Shanghai. The Ministry dispatched to Shanghai the Parliamentary Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs and 13 officials of the Japanese Embassy in Beijing, including Japanese Ambassador to China. It also sent a group of doctors for emergency medical treatment and brought the injured back to Japan.

(c) Iran-Iraq Conflict

Iran and Iraq had continued mutual missile attacks on their capitals since February 27, 1988, causing increased danger for the Japanese staying there. The Foreign. Ministry aroused caution among the Japanese through the embassies in Tehran and Baghdad, explained the worsened situation at an emergency meeting and advised them to move temporarily to the suburbs. Also in Tokyo, the Ministry held a briefing session for the head offices of the companies doing business in the two warring nations to prevent possible confusion among them due to a lack of information. The ministry continued notifying these companies of the situation there.


(3) Problem of Foreign Workers in Japan

The problem of foreign workers in Japan has attracted wide attention since 1987 and become a new problem confronting Japan.

(a) Current Framework and Diversification of Domestic Needs

Foreigners who want to work in Japan are handled by the current Japanese system of providing qualifications for stay in Japan under the Immigration-Control and Refugee-Recognition Act and by the employment policies approved at the Cabinet meeting. But foreigners, excluding the limited portion - businessmen, professors, entertainers, technical experts and skilled workers, are banned in principle from working in Japan.

As we see in the recent increase of foreign employees, however, Japan allows a flexible use of the current system for foreign technical experts and engineers who cannot be replaced by the Japanese. It reflects the overseas advance of Japanese companies and economic activities as well as internationalization of Japan.

(b) Increase of Illegal Employment and Related Problems

Since the end of 1975, many young women from some Asian countries have entered Japan for the ostensible purpose of sightseeing and engaged in unqualified activities or are illegally employed, such illegal foreign workers have rapidly increased in the past one or two years. The actual number is estimated at 50,000, but a total of 11,000 illegal workers were exposed by the police in 1987, showing an increase of more than 30% over the previous year and a nearly six-fold rise from five years ago. A breakdown shows a particularly sharp increase of illegal male workers. It is also pointed out that studying and training at Japanese language schools serve to camouflage some manual or unskilled labor by foreigners, which is banned in Japan.

Japan can no longer neglect this vexing problem of illegal employment of foreign workers today because it has caused secret maneuvers by brokers, poor employment conditions and infringement upon human rights, which could combine to deteriorate Japan's overseas image.

(c) Background - Gaps with Other Asian Countries

Behind the sharp increase of illegal foreign workers in Japan lay Japan's remarkable economic progress, the yen's sustained strength as well as structural factors that affect both Japan and foreign countries. Specifically, there is domestic needs for a foreign workforce, while a huge economic gap exists between Japan and other Asian countries. In addition, we observe a reason peculiar to this region that quite a number of countries are sending workers to Japan.

In December 1987, Philippine President Corazon Aquino asked Prime Minister Takeshita, who attended the Japan-ASEAN summit conference held in Manila, to consider accepting Philippine workers. Other countries also put great expectations, though latent, on Japan.

(d) Controversies on Problems of Foreign Workers in Japan

Every sector in Japan began vigorous discussions in 1988 on the problems related to foreign workers in Japan. Mass media has carried many reports and articles on the issue. Various studies and proposals have been made especially in the business, labor and academic circles, but their discussions on the acceptance of unskilled workers from abroad have yet to reach a conclusion because the problem affects many fields. The opinion polls conducted in 1987 by the Justice Ministry, the Economic Planning Agency and other offices showed that the Japanese agree to the acceptance of such workers in general discussions but remain cautious when asked about particulars. Future developments of public opinion are to be watched.



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