May 2001

1. Background

At the trilateral meeting of the leaders of Japan, China and the Republic of Korea (ROK) held in November 2000 on the occasion of the ASEAN+3 (Japan, China, and the ROK) Summit Meeting, President Kim Dae Jung of the ROK proposed to promote human and cultural exchanges among the capitals of the three countries and to create a "triangular exchange" among the three countries. Further, Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori suggested that a "Japan-China-Republic of Korea Young Leaders' Program" in which young people meet together from all walks of life from the three countries and exchange ideas and opinions in the year 2002, a year in which the three countries each will have something to celebrate or commemorate in their bilateral relations, as a first step in joint exchanges among the three countries. Based on these proposals, Chinese Premier Zhu Rongji proposed that the year of 2002 be designated as the "Year of Japan-China-Republic of Korea National Exchange" so that we can unite ideas of the three countries and can promote human and cultural exchanges.

2. Significance

(1) In the Japan-China Summit Meeting of October 2000, it was agreed that 2002 be designated as "China Year" and "Japan Year" in each country and that both countries should implement programs to promote exchange activities on the national level in various areas, including culture, economy and lifestyle, as 2002 will mark the 30th anniversary of the normalization of diplomatic relations between Japan and China.

(2) At a meeting with then Prime Minister Kim Jong-Pil of the ROK in September 1999, then Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi of Japan proposed that the year 2002, which is when the FIFA World Cup would be co-hosted by the two countries, be designated as the Year of Japan-ROK National Exchange. This proposal was formally agreed by both prime ministers at the Japan-ROK Ministers Meeting in October 1999. Based upon this agreement, the two governments have initiated Working-Group Meetings (Director Level) that have been held to exchange opinions on the various methods of promoting exchange activities and to confirm the implementation and promotion of a variety of cultural exchange programs toward the year 2002.

(3) Moreover, the year 2002 marks the 10th anniversary of the normalization of relations between China and the ROK, and taking it into account, the year of 2002 provides an opportunity to further advance cultural and human exchanges within the three-country framework. In addition, it is expected that by deepening cultural and human exchanges among the people of the three countries, each people will share an enhanced recognition as a member of the Northeast Asian community, which will promote mutual understanding and trust among Japan, China and the ROK, and contribute to peace and stability in the Northeast Asian region.

(4) With these above-mentioned points in mind, it is important that young people, who bear responsibility for the future, willingly participate in exchanges of activities.

3. Content

(1) In 2002, a variety of programs for the promotion of cultural and human exchanges on the trilateral level will also take place as well as the bilateral activities throughout the year of national exchange between Japan and China, and Japan and the ROK. In addition, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs plans to examine proposals from local governments, the private sector and private organizations for related activities and events, with a view to permitting the use of the Ministry's name as a sponsor if the events planned are deemed suitable as programs for the Exchange Year.

(2) The Japan-China-Republic of Korea Young Leaders' Program will be implemented as one of the events to commemorate the 2002 Year of Japan-China-Republic of Korea National Exchange.

The Japan-China-Republic of Korea Young Leaders Exchange Program

The Japan-China- Republic of Korea Young Leaders' Exchange Program is designed as a forum for the exchange of opinions among young people in Japan, China and the Republic of Korea, to give them an opportunity to meet sometime in 2002. Through cooperation with each other (and on occasion with local people), it is expected that the participants of the Program will deepen their mutual understanding through exchanging opinions frankly, using the opportunities through the holding of seminars and symposia, field trips, visits to schools and government offices.

Details of the Program will be available soon at this URL address.

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