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.
This week’s PD News roundup looks at the connections that can be forged through cultural exchange.
Japan should be patting itself on the back after this soft-power success. In particular, “Your Name.” [...] “Your Name.” wasn’t aimed at a global audience — in fact, those involved with it didn’t even realize how big it would be domestically — but still had a universal theme.
Minister of Culture and Information Adel Al-Toraifi opened the first Japanese full orchestra concert in Saudi Arabia on Thursday night here at King Fahad Cultural Center. The concert was organized as part of a Saudi-Japan music exchange program, under the patronage of the Saudi Ministry of Culture and Information and the Embassy of Japan.
The league, launched by India's ambassador to Japan Sujan Chinoy in the presence of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, will be headed by Hakubun Shimomura, former minister for education, culture, sports, and science and technology [...] Chinoy said that the establishment of the league comes at an opportune moment. "India and Japan have a special strategic and global partnership based on our shared values of democracy, rule of law, tolerance and transparency..." he said.
Facing an uncertain geopolitical climate, Japan and India will benefit from working closely to play a greater leadership role in the region as they share converging strategic and security interests. Given the possibility that the United States may disengage from the Asia-Pacific, both Tokyo and New Delhi are concerned about Beijing’s increasing assertiveness and will seek to increase their collective capabilities to counterbalance China’s otherwise unhindered dominance.
Vietnam and Japan signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on Tuesday to boost tourism cooperation between the two countries. [...] Under the MoU, both nations will work together to promote tourism initiatives, introducing attractive destinations, encouraging visitor exchanges, and sharing experience and information in areas of mutual concern.
All told, the Kingdom’s prioritization of its economic reform agenda, its interdependence with regional trade partners, and political uncertainty in the United States point to a period of heightened focus on Asia ties in the immediate future. However, Vision 2030’s dizzying ambition of overhauling subsidies and public sector reliance, coupled with channeling a massive, increasingly well-educated youth population into a fledgling knowledge economy, will necessitate that the Saudis cast a wide net to capture as much foreign investment and diversified revenue as possible.