Press Releases

Election of Mr. Toru MORIKAWA, Minister of the Embassy of Japan in Iran,
as the Executive Director of the Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF)

June 11, 2020

1. On June 11, the Japanese candidate, Mr. Toru Morikawa, Minister of the Embassy of Japan in Iran, was elected as the next Executive Director of the Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF), at the 41stASEF Board of Governors’ Meeting. This is the first time that a Japanese candidate is elected as the Executive Director of ASEF.

2. ASEF plays a key role in the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) to promote mutual understanding, with a focus on people-to-people in various manners, cultural and intellectual exchange between Asia and Europe. It is expected that Mr. Morikawa will greatly contribute to ASEF’s activities, taking advantage of his expertise and experiences.

3. Japan hopes that ASEF’s activities will be further advanced under the leadership of the new Executive Director, Mr. Morikawa, and it will continue to promote cooperation with ASEF.

[Election of the ASEF Executive Director]
ASEF Executive Director and Deputy Executive Director are elected alternately from Asian and European countries, for a term of four years. This time the Executive Director is supposed to be elected from an Asian country.

[Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF)]

(1) ASEF, founded on February 15, 1997, is a sole permanent body of the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM), aimed at conducting activities in the socio-cultural area, one of the pillars of ASEM. Its activities are focused on people-to-people, cultural and intellectual exchange by a wide range of people from experts to the general public in order to promote mutual understanding and strengthen connectivity between Asia and Europe.

(2) Japan has been supporting ASEF’s public health activities such as “ASEM Initiative for the Rapid Containment of Pandemic Influenza”. In this Initiative, Japan works together with ASEF on emergency operations to provide ASEM partners with stockpiled items in order to respond to the outbreak of infectious diseases in their countries, as well as on workshops on capacity-building to tackle public health emergencies. Moreover, Japan assists other ASEF’s activities with a view to promoting youth exchange.

[Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM)]
ASEM, founded in 1996, is a sole forum of dialogue and cooperation which brings together Asia and Europe. It consists of 22 Asian partners (21 countries and ASEAN) and 31 European partners (30 countries and EU). Under ASEM, various activities, including Summit Meetings and Foreign Ministers Meetings, take place, based on the three pillars – politics, economy, society and culture – in order to strengthen cooperation between Asia and Europe.

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