The Fulbright/CULCON(*1) Joint Symposium on “Japan ＆ US Soft Power: Addressing Global Challenges” was held on June 12, 2009, in Tokyo, Japan, following Fulbright Japan initiatives and to follow up on the Report “Re-defining the Japan-US Relationship” adopted by the 23rd Plenary Session of the CULCON in June last year. In attendance were nearly 300 invitees from government, business, academic, mass media, cultural and civil society circles of Japan and the United States, including American Fulbright scholars in Japan and Asia. His Imperial Highness the Crown Prince graced the occasion with his presence in the afternoon session.
Following the keynote speeches by Professor Joseph. S. Nye Jr. (video-recorded) and Professor Hiroshi Komiyama, President Emeritus, University of Tokyo, prominent Japanese and American panelists actively discussed, through focusing on the notion of Soft Power, how Japan and the United States can work together to address global challenges. The following points were felt to be of particular value to policy-makers and others engaged in cultural, educational and intellectual exchange between Japan and the United States.
- Japan and the United States, sharing democratic values, are well placed to collaborate for the global goods. These efforts may include coping with such issues as the environment and energy, poverty, development and aid, health and pandemic prevention, and nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament. Japan has much to offer the world in terms of energy efficiency, technology and innovation. Potential for cooperation with other nations should be explored.
- While maintaining their alliance, Japan and the US should coordinate, as a matter of national strategy, how best to achieve peace and prosperity in Asia by combining their soft power.
Further, the following steps were suggested.
- The sharp decline in Japan-US intellectual exchanges calls for urgent efforts to invest greater resources into public and private institutions including think tanks, universities, and foundations which constitute the infrastructure. American studies in Japan and Japanese studies in the US should be encouraged in such a way as to foster greater understanding of each other’s role in today’s world. The numbers of Japanese studying in the U.S. and Americans studying in Japan must be increased to insure a critical mass of future leaders conversant with each society.
- In light of the increasingly important role played by civil society organizations worldwide in tackling global issues, Japan needs to develop civil society organizations with stronger professional staff and expertise that can make contributions on major global issues. There should be substantial and stable funding to civil society organizations from the Japanese government, corporations, private foundations and individuals.
- Steps should be taken to enable greater representation of Japanese art in the US and to introduce modern and contemporary theatre to each other.
Mr. Minoru Makihara, the Japan CULCON Chair (Adviser and Former Chairman, Mitsubishi Corporation), Mr. Thierry Porté, the US CULCON Chair (Operating Partner, J.C. Flowers & Co. LLD), and Mr. Ronald J. Post, Chair of Fulbright Japan, thanked all the participants for their valuable contribution, and expressed their determination to build on the fruits of this symposium as they continue the work of Fulbright Japan and CULCON.
(*1) Japan-US Educational Commission (Fulbright Japan) and US-Japan Conference on Cultural and Educational Interchange (CULCON)