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Japan at a Turning Point -2-

Notes for remarks by Mr. Sadaaki Numata,
Executive Director, Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership,
The Japan-America Society of Colorado,
Monday 3 November 2008


5.  I am serving on the Japanese panel of the Japan-US Conference on Cultural and Educational Interchange (CULCON*), a bi-national body comprising leaders in business, education and the arts as well as government officials, established in 1961 to identify opportunities to expand the cultural and education linkages between the United States and Japan. At its 23rd meeting in Tokyo last June, CULCON felt that, in spite of the enormous strides made in the Japan-US alliance and the general consensus that the relationship has never been stronger, Japan and the United States should more actively exercise intellectual leadership in tackling such global challenges as climate change, development assistance, energy security and food security.

6.   To this end, we should actively explore ways to harness our respective soft power in pursuit of the objectives that we share with our partners in Asia and the world. In this context, let me refer to what I see as some of the sources of Japan’s soft power, with the aid of a collection of data entitled “Japan’s Place in the World” compiled by my friend Ichiro Fujisaki, the Japanese Ambassador to the United States, (see Attachment).
(1) Shared values such as freedom, democracy, rule of law and respect for human rights form the core of the soft power that Japan and the United States have in common. According to the Gallup Poll in 2008, 73% of the Japanese polled believe that the United States shares common values with Japan. An opinion poll conducted in Japan in 2007 indicates that 76% of the respondents regard the United States positively.
(2) In terms of financial contribution to the United Nations, Japan is No. 2, following the United States. The United States is the No.1 contributor to Iraq and Afghanistan measured in dollar terms, and Japan is No.2 with respect to Iraq and No. 3 with respect to Afghanistan.
(3) Japan is second only to the United States in the number of Patent Cooperation Treaty international applications and Gross Domestic Expenditures on R&D.
(4) Japan has the highest energy efficiency of the world in terms of energy necessary to produce a dollar of GDP.
(5) Japan’s GDP is about one third of that of the United States. Japan’s CO2 emissions are about one fifth of that of the United States.

7.  Climate change is one of the highest priority areas in which Japan and the United States should harness their soft power for the global common good. We appreciate Colorado’s commitment shown in its Climate Action Plan. For its part, Japan has set the long-term goal of 60-80% reduction in emissions of its current level by 2050. Two weeks ago, Japan started an experimental introduction of an integrated domestic market of emissions trading. Science and technology is another area in which Japanese and American soft power can reinforce each other.  Four Japanese scientists won the Nobel prize this year; three in physics and one in chemistry. We share Colorado’s interest in high technology including renewable energy and biotechnology.

8.  As the world is threatened with the dire implications of what  Alan Greenspan called a “once-in-a-life-time credit tsunami”, it is more important than ever for us to recognize the value of interdependence through trade and investment such as the one that exists between Japan and Colorado, especially in the high technology sector. I am sure that the forthcoming visit of Governor Bill Ritter to Japan will be a significant opportunity to enhance such relationship further.

9.  Harnessing soft power and invigorating intellectual dialogue  cannot take place in a vacuum. We need to engage actively with each other at all levels of exchange … not only intellectual, but also cultural, educational and grass roots. It is in this overall context that I value highly the active educational, cultural and grass roots exchanges that have been taking place between Colorado and Japan, and the important role that Japan-America Society of Colorado plays under the leadership of Bob Sakata and others in simulating and sustaining the interest in Japan on the part of the people of Colorado, especially the young. As I perused the Society’s website, I was impressed by the flyer on Japan Bowl 2007. It was very encouraging to know that there are these young Americans who can understand highly idiomatic and sophisticated Japanese. In fact, I would have to refresh my own knowledge of some of the Japanese proverbs cited there if I were to pass the test!

10.  You can always turn to Consul General Kubo on anything of your interest, be it the Japanese language education, arts, culture, or grass-roots exchange. With his wealth of experience at the Japan Foundation including his tours in Brazil and the Republic of Korea, I am sure that he will give you expert advice.

In closing, I would like to express my sincere appreciation to you all for having given me the chance to visit Denver. Let me also extend my very best wishes for the continuing success of Japan-America Society of Colorado.

>> Reference Material-Japan's Place in the World (PDF:103KB)

* US CULCON Homepage http://www.jusfc.gov/
 Japan CULCON Homepage http://www.jpf.go.jp/culcon/

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