Contents | Back | Next


Public Diplomacy

In order to implement diplomatic policy effectively, in addition to making direct approaches towards policymakers abroad, it is important to promote interest towards Japan and work to form a favorable impression of Japan in the minds of the general public of other countries, who form the base of support for their governments' policies, by providing information and promoting exchanges. The impact of public opinion on diplomatic policy has been increasing particularly in recent years with the spread of the Internet. Accordingly, the government works on public relations overseas to promote the understanding of citizens of foreign countries towards Japan's diplomatic policies and values. The government also makes efforts to convey Japan's multi-faceted appeal and promote cultural exchanges with a view to enhancing the image of Japan among citizens of foreign countries and strengthening their sense of affinity towards Japan.

The report submitted in February by the Council on the Movement of People Across Borders, an advisory body to the Foreign Minister, pointed out the importance of public diplomacy that reaches out directly towards citizens and to public opinion of foreign countries. Its recommendations for concrete measures to further strengthen Japan's public diplomacy include expanding Japanese language education among foreigners, utilizing modern Japanese culture including pop culture, and intensifying efforts targeting opinion leaders. Based on these perspectives, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is developing various cultural projects, which includes the appointment of Doraemon as Anime Ambassador in March, the promotion of Japanese language overseas through The Japan Foundation, and the dispatch of volunteers through the Japan Culture Volunteers Program to four Central and South Eastern European countries in January 2009, who teach the Japanese language and introduce Japanese culture at the grassroots level. In addition, the Ministry invites to Japan foreign opinion leaders who have significant influence on international public opinion, with a view to fostering their better understanding towards Japan. The Ministry also works to communicate its policies effectively, by supporting the participation of Japanese opinion leaders in international conferences and symposia.

In 2008, intensive cultural exchange was organized with Brazil and Indonesia, as 2008 was the Japan-Brazil Exchange Year in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of Japanese immigration to Brazil, as well as the Golden Year of Friendship of Indonesia and Japan, marking the 50th anniversary of the establishment of Japan-Indonesia diplomatic relations. Japan has also been actively supporting the preservation and restoration of cultural properties and human resource development in developing countries, through cooperation with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), and other organizations.

Photo:Doraemon and Foreign Minister Koumura at the Anime Ambassador inauguration ceremony (March 19, Tokyo)

Doraemon and Foreign Minister Koumura at the Anime Ambassador inauguration ceremony (March 19, Tokyo)

Photo:Doraemon highly welcomed at the Home for Children with Disabilities in Pakkret, Thailand.

Doraemon highly welcomed at the Home for Children with Disabilities in Pakkret, Thailand.

Text File