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Tokyo Forum

Tokyo Forum Discusses Role of Soft Power

Japan-2019-07-25-Tokyo Forum Discusses Role of Soft Power

Tokyo, Japan—The 36th Peace Diplomats Forum, hosted by UPF-Japan, convened at the United Nations University on July 25, 2019. Many diplomats, including current ambassadors from 34 embassies in Japan, as well as 80 other guests who included experts from every quarter of Japan participated in the forum.

The event opened with Mr. Kajikuri Masayoshi, chair of UPF-Japan, as the organizer’s representative, introducing UPF’s vision and activities around the world this year. H.E. Seiichi Kondo, former Commissioner for Cultural Affairs and former Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Permanent Delegation of Japan to UNESCO, spoke on the theme of “Role of Soft Power in Japan’s Diplomacy.”

At the beginning, Ambassador Kondo mentioned the concept of soft power as defined by Dr. Joseph Nye, U.S. Assistant Secretary of Defense under the Clinton administration. He emphasized that soft power has cultural influence as a diplomatic tool by citing “Hello Kitty,” a character made in Japan, as the example. He said that Japan’s government should not interfere in soft power because Japan has many world-class cultural resources that use it effectively.

After his presentation, some participants raised questions as follows; “It is very important to maintain a balance between hard and soft power. How do we apply for this to relations between Japan and South Korea?” “Online distributers in the United States have taken control of animation exported by soft power from Japan. What can Japan do about this?" and so on.

At the end of the fourm, Mr. Bentley Namasasu, Deputy Head of Mission of the Embassy of the Republic of Malawi; Mr. Roshan Gamage, minister in the Embassy of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, and other six diplomats from embassies in Japan were appointed as Ambassadors for Peace.

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