Even 70 years after the end of World War II, relations between Japan and its East Asian neighbors remain difficult. On the one hand, the historical heritage of the Asia-Pacific War is straining relations, and on the other the unresolved territorial claims of various groups of islands stand in the way of close neighborly relations between Japan, China and South Korea. The instruments of traditional foreign policy do not seem to have any lasting effect on relaxing the tensions in East Asia. To what extent can civil society exchange and dialogue contribute to a better understanding between East Asian neighbors?
Against this background, the JDZB and the Friedrich Ebert Foundation organized an evening lecture with KUDÔ Yasushi on “Civil Diplomacy and International Relations in East Asia”.
Mr. KUDÔ is the founder and President of the very well-known NGO in Japan The Genron NPO, which was established in 2001 with the aim to provide individual citizens independent information. The Genron NPO regularly evaluates the election campaign promises of political parties and the efficiency of the administrative government.
One focus of its activities is to improve neighborly relations in East Asia. The two dialogue forums "Tokyo - Beijing Forum" and "Japan - Korea Future Dialogue" are high-level discussion forums that can continue open and fair discussions when exchanges between government levels start to falter or there is threat of military confrontation. At the same time, contact with government officials is maintained. The Genron NPO carries out opinion polls in Japan, China and Korea to determine mutual perception, which receive wide media attention. An important element of "Genron diplomacy" is the publication of discussions and survey results to influence nationalist trending public opinion when it occurs.
The presentation evening will be moderated by Prof. Sven Saaler, Associate Professor of Japanese History at Sophia University in Tôkyô and representative of the Friedrich Ebert Foundation in Japan.
The event starts at 6pm and will be translated simultaneously in Japanese and German.
Please register your attendance with the JDZB by 4 February 2015!