In the beginning of the year 2014, I would like to extend my New Year’s greetings to everyone and express sincere wishes that it will be a prosperous year for all of you.
As you may know, the ASEAN-Japan Commemorative Summit Meeting was held in Tokyo in December last year. During the meeting Prime Minister Abe announced vision statement on new policy for cultural exchange in Asia and confirmed the establishment of an Asia Center within the Japan Foundation to promote the “WA Project” ~ Toward Interactive Asia through “Fusion and Harmony” ~ over the next seven years until 2020.
In response to this, the Japan Foundation has begun preparations to set up the Asia Center early this year. The purpose of this seven-year long, 30-billion yen scale project(*) is to fundamentally enhance exchange with Asia through a wide range of activities such as two-way exchanges in arts and culture, interactive exchanges among Asian countries, and Japanese-language learning support.
We all know that Asia is rich in diversity, but if we, the people of each country in Asia including Japan, interactively "get to know each other" through deep respect, mutual acceptance of our unique cultures and traditions, and heart-to-heart exchanges, the bonds that tie us will become even stronger. Furthermore, if we work together to nurture an Asian culture for the future, I believe that it will create a solid foundation to connect all of Asia.
Details on the Asia Center’s activities are currently being deliberated through consultations with people from various fields. With a scale comparable to the Center for Global Partnership established in 1991, there is no doubt that it will have a significant impact on exchange with Asia. Historically speaking, this is a big milestone for the Japan Foundation, and we are ready for working on further improvement in quality of our activities, as well as for conveying more of Japanese culture to the world. We are ever grateful for all of your support.
Also this year, the Japan Foundation will continuously promote the understanding of Japan by introducing the country in its true form through a variety of international cultural exchange programs in countries and regions in Asia, the Americas, Europe, and other areas of the world. As always, we appreciate for your continued support and cooperation.
The Japan Foundation
(*) The FY2013 supplementary budget includes 20 billion yen for the “WA Project” ~ Toward Interactive Asia through “Fusion and Harmony” ~