At the beginning of the year 2015, I would like to extend my greetings to everyone.
Looking back the year 2014 for the Japan Foundation, there was a significant development: the Asia Center was founded in April. At the Center, we aim at strengthening exchange activities with Asian countries by 2020, when the Olympic and Paralympic Games are held. They include interactive arts and cultural exchanges with Asian countries, intra-Asian interactions and supporting Japanese language learners. The NIHONGO Partners program, which is to dispatch 3,000 people in seven years, sent off its first group in September and the participants already started working at assigned places. In 2015, we will expand it to a full scale program.
The projects we run at the Center, including the NIHONGO Partners program mentioned above, focus on transmitting Japanese culture abroad, as it is what we, the Japan Foundation, have been laying stress on since we became an independent administrative institution. In addition to this, we pay particular attention to interactive interpersonal exchanges with other countries through the projects. In order for people overseas to understand and accept our culture, arts and values that the Japanese cherish, we need to interact with them. We may not succeed if we promote one-sidedly. To build a relationship between countries, like a relationship between individuals, we need to bare our chest and show them our attitude that we are willing to interact profoundly. Then we believe we can open up people's mind and form a deeper relationship.
In this way, it will become important to show Japan as an open country to people all over the world, even for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games. There have been several discussions on the games in the aspect of culture. However, we hope people visiting Tokyo from all over the world will see our diversity and we will learn actively something from them.
Keeping these points in our mind, the Japan Foundation will continuously promote various exchanges so that people in Japan and other countries become closer and have empathy, trust and affection. We appreciate for your continued support and cooperation.
We wish the year 2015 will be a prosperous year for all of you.
The Japan Foundation