The symbolic gesture of picking São Paulo for the grand opening of Japan House hints at the value attributed by Japan to its strategic global partnership with Brasília. [...] unless Tokyo and Brasília decide to go for a thorough re-evaluation of the terms upon which their dysfunctional bilateral cooperation was structured over time, and think of innovative ways to carry it through in the future, Japan House will be of little help in making the ties that unite the two countries even bolder.
Concerns are growing the diplomatic strains may spill over into sociocultural and people-to-people exchanges between the two countries despite their deepening economic interdependence. [...] But in the eyes of Park Euna, ambassador for public diplomacy at the Foreign Ministry, now is time for Seoul to step up efforts to reach out to citizens of not only China but other countries around the world, helping promote their understanding of and eventually reach its foreign policy goals.
International politics surrounding Taiwan is quietly changing thanks to a rejuvenation in Japan–Taiwanese relations. But revitalised bilateral ties are likely to spell trouble for already rocky Sino–Japan relations. [...] The Tsai Ing-wen administration has been especially eager to expand such ties with Japan because of its anxiety over Taiwan’s economic dependence on mainland China.
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The strongest defense of JET comes from those who view it as a diplomatic soft-power tool. MOFA officials agreed to support JET because they believed participants would increase their understanding of Japanese society and return home sympathetic toward Japan. [...] “the JET Programme has been wildly successful as a public diplomacy effort for Japan.” Calling it a “vital diplomatic tool."
Marcello Dantas, a renowned Brazilian curator celebrated not only for producing exhibitions, but also involved in filmmaking and opera production, talks about Japan House Sao Paulo and his plans as its director of programming and chief curator. [...] Japan House is a place to inspire people with the contemporary ideas that Japan has developed. Those ideas can be artistic, design-focused, architectural, technological, environmental, social, political or traditional.
Bollywood’s global popularity and the ‘Cool Japan’ initiative are highlighted in this week’s roundup.
Much has been made of Japan’s recent turn away from pacifism and growing military muscle, but Tokyo is also extending its global reach in more subtle ways. Japan is especially serious about increasing its soft power, the ability to win over global partners with cultural and diplomatic affinity rather than coercion and sheer heft.