The Japan Foundation
The ASEAN-JAPAN Commemorative Summit was held in December 2013, and at the summit the Japanese government announced vision statement on a new policy for cultural exchange in Asia, named "WA Project"--Toward Interactive Asia through "Fusion and Harmony"--. In response to the launch of the project, the Japan Foundation has established the Asia Center and, toward the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, will implement a wide range of activities to promote and strengthen two-way cultural exchanges between Japan and Asian countries.
On April 15, 2014, the inauguration ceremony for the "WA Project" and the Asia Center took place in Tokyo. The day was blessed with the fine weather and more than 250 guests attended the ceremony.
At the ceremony, Hiroyasu Ando, President of the Japan Foundation, made an opening remark. Her Imperial Highness Princess Takamado then gave a speech with quotes from the late His Imperial Highness Prince Takamado who once worked at the Japan Foundation. She mentioned that sharing time, space, and experience with Asian people should be a foundation and a shortcut for mutual understanding.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe delivered a powerful congratulatory address, saying "I am sure that the Asia Center and the 'WA Project,' which were established based on the vision set forth at the summit, will lay the foundation for Japan and other Asian countries to work in concert as 'heart-to-heart partners'."
Then, a congratulatory video message of H.E. Mr. Le Luong Minh, Secretary-General of ASEAN, was screened, and H.E. Mr. Khenthong Nuanthasing, Ambassador of the Lao People's Democratic Republic to Japan, gave a toast.
Following the pleasant chatting time, the three members of theater group "En juku," consisting of Indonesian Japanese-language students, came up and sang "Sakura Yo" or "Wahai sakura (O, Cherry Tree)," a song written by the group for Japan and Japanese people. Japan's first lady Mrs. Akie Abe said that she hoped that a circle of heart-to-heart exchanges would expand across Asia, and then to all over the globe, just like this song delivered.
As mentioned in the opening remark of President Ando, the Japan Foundation will make the best efforts in Japan's original way, contributing not only to introducing Japanese culture, but to creating a new civilization together with Asian countries, through deep respect, mutual acceptance of our diverse identities, and heart-to-heart exchanges.
Hiroyasu Ando, President of the Japan Foundation, made an opening remark: Toward the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, the Japan Foundation will further promote two-way exchanges in the field of arts and culture and will also strengthen Japanese-language support.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited all ten ASEAN member states in his first year of office. The Vision Statement on ASEAN-Japan Friendship and Cooperation and its Implementation Plan were adopted at the ASEAN-Japan Commemorative Summit Meeting in December 2013.
Congratulatory message from H.E. Mr. Le Luong Minh, Secretary-General of ASEAN
(Left) H.E. Mr. Khenthong Nuanthasing, Ambassador of Laos to Japan, gave a toast, (right) Japan's first lady Mrs. Akie Abe also delivered her congratulatory speech
(Photos: Shinsuke Kotani)
"NIHONGO Partners" Dispatch Program ~A bridge between Japan and Asia~
Asis Center aims to connect people and expand network within Asia, and to co-develop Asian culture with other Asian countries. Until 2020, the Center will implement a wide range of programs dealing with various fields spanning from music, theater, and film to Japanese-language education and intellectual exchange. By doing these, the Center will support exchange activities among Asian people in many ways, and one of them is "NIHONGO Partners" Dispatch Program.
While supporting local Japanese-language teachers in their respective destination countries in Asia, "NIHONGO Partners" introduce Japanese culture and learn about the countries through exchange activities with local teachers, students and residents.
The duration for each dispatch ranges from about half a year to a year. In fiscal 2014, the program will send out approximately 100 "NIHONGO Partners" to five countries of the ten ASEAN member states. It is scheduled that the number of countries and participating partners will gradually increase in the future.