A MAJOR STRIDE FOR JAPAN�S CULTURAL DIPLOMACY

A MAJOR STRIDE FOR JAPAN�S CULTURAL DIPLOMACY -...

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REMAINING TASKS FOR WINNER KOIZUMI Vol. 32, No. 6, December 2005 A MAJOR STRIDE FOR JAPAN’S CULTURAL DIPLOMACY I want you to go ahead with this plan. The members shouldn’t be just academics. Include people who are active on the front lines of cultural affairs—and especially women, young people, and non- Japanese. Also, the non-Japanese shouldn’t be just Westerners; don’t forget about Asians. Professor Aoki is a good choice for chairman." The date was September 7, 2004, the place Prime Minister Koizumi Jun’ichirô’s office. The prime minister listened to my proposal, nodded deeply, and spoke thus. It was at this moment that the Council on the Promotion of Cultural Diplomacy was born. Twice before this experts had offered prime ministers suggestions about the conduct of cultural exchange. By the late 1980s Japan had become an economic superpower, and people started looking for ways to alleviate the rising concerns in foreign countries about how this country intended to use its economic might. In the mid-1990s, an additional question emerged: How should Japan’s friendly relations with the countries of Europe and North America, which were seen as a matter of course during the Cold War, be positioned within this country’s diplomacy in the new environment of the post–Cold War world? underlying the establishment of the Council on the Promotion of Cultural Diplomacy was a set of issues qualitatively different from the above. Some of us at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had become concerned that both the Kantei (the prime minister’s executive office) and our own ministry were forced in recent years to preoccupy themselves with the stubborn threats of terrorism and nuclear proliferation, outbreaks of regional conflicts, friction with Japan’s neighbors, and the response to natural disasters and other emergencies. Having to deal with a constant succession of immediate issues like these seemed to be leaving little time for thinking about important longer- term diplomatic concerns. This was what led to a session early in May 2004 at which the vice-minister for foreign affairs gave Prime Minister Koizumi a general briefing on strategy for cultural diplomacy. Then, on a hot day in August, the word came from the Kantei that we should prepare a concrete proposal for the council whose creation had been suggested he vice-minister’s briefing. And it was this proposal that I submitted to the prime minister on
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September 7. As indicated in our concrete proposal, the mission of the council was, first of all, to promote appreciation of Japan and friendly relations through cultural exchange. With the end of the Cold War, the world has moved from an age of ideological confrontation to an age in which nations compete to present attractive ideals and culture. The spread of democracy and of the market economy has made it
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This note was uploaded on 10/14/2009 for the course HISTORY 0009 taught by Professor Harris during the Spring '09 term at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

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A MAJOR STRIDE FOR JAPAN�S CULTURAL DIPLOMACY -...

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