"Dialogue among Civilizations" between Japan and Islamic world
(Executive Summary and Recommendations)

24th, February, 2010

1. Executive Summary of the "Dialogue among Civilizations"

1) "Dialogue among Civilizations" was commenced as one of the pillars of the new initiatives toward establishing multilayered relation between Japan and the Islamic world launched by then Foreign Minister Yohei Kono when he visited Gulf countries in January 2001. The first meeting was held in Manama, Kingdom of Bahrain in March, 2002, followed by both Japan and Islamic countries annually. This time the 8th seminar was held in Tokyo on 23rd (Tue.) and 24th (Wed.), February, 2010 with the participation of intellectuals including 18 Japanese and 22 from Islamic countries as well as 26 students from both sides.

2) At this seminar, under the theme of " Pursuit of Common values which bring to Mankind happiness" participants discussed subjects as follows: (1)follow-up on the 7th seminar held in Kuwait under the theme of "Harmony of Environment with Civilization"; (2)possibility of the collaboration with other similar initiatives; (3)youth exchange under the title of "Succession of the Civilization and Creation of Future"; (4)pursuit of common value; and (5)focusing on the role of the media, how to avoid prejudice toward civilizations and religions.

3) The Islamic side explained the concept of the Islamic finance and insurance as anti-thesis to speculative trading, focusing on the system to relieve the poor such as Zakat. The Japanese side introduced wisdom to accommodate diverse culture and religions including Buddhism and Shinto, while maintaining the integrity of Japanese culture in harmony with others. Then the Japanese side introduced a new economical and social model for revitalizing the Japanese society, followed by discussion.

4) The eight meetings so far would not have been successful without the dedicated contribution of intellectuals of both the Japanese and Islamic sides as well as the cooperation extended by the host countries, namely, Bahrain, Iran, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan reiterates its gratitude to those who have extended cooperation to the events, and expresses its expectation for their future cooperation and collaboration.

2. Recommendations

The objective of the "Dialogue among Civilizations" between Japan and the Islamic world is to deepen the mutual understanding through free discussion among intellectuals of both sides. And it can be said that the Seminar achieved an outcome for this objective. On the other hand, amid the rapid development of globalization, people are constantly facing the anxiety of loosing identity and friction with other culture, while benefiting from the globalization. It is required to create on effective mechanism to deal with such anxiety and friction as well as peace and stability for mankind and various disparity problems.

Therefore, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, the host of the Seminar meetings, wishes to conclude the current series of dialogue in which intellectuals discuss directly, with the above-mentioned executive summary. It is desirable to pursue the continuation of dialogue in a reformed scheme from the next year. Zayed University of Abu Dhabi, Malaya University of Malaysia and Authorities of Egypt kindly offered to host the coming seminar. Necessary arrangement will be made out in due course for that purpose.

Japan intends to prepare a draft action plan for the new scheme as early as possible in close consultation with Japanese intellectuals and Islamic countries concerned.

In the process of the preparation, following points would be focused.

1) To place importance to make a message toward policy-makers and opinion leaders

2) To place importance to make proposal and collaboration for the promotion of mutual understanding and the relaxation of friction, pursuing coordination and harmonization with other similar initiatives in the world.

3) To respect the difference of the identity of various culture, religions, ethnic groups and languages.

4) To continue to place importance on the role of the media to avoid prejudice regarding culture and religion.

5) To take note of the coordination with NGOs and NPOs which are working for the revitalization of local communities and promoting the efforts for global issues.

6) To facilitate exchanges of youth who take the responsibility of the future and to encourage the dialogue among different generations.

7) To pay due consideration to creating a follow-up mechanism.


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