How to Explain Japan to the world

How to Explain Japan to the world

Ms. Michaëlle Jean, 3rd Secretary-General of the Organisation Internationale de La Francophonie
Mr. Masakazu Nagata, Deputy Director, Global Communications Office at the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO).


Mr. Masakazu NAGATA
Deputy Director, Global Communications Office, Prime Minister’s Office (PMO)

Mr. Masakazu Nagata, Deputy Director, Global Communications Office in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO). Being the initiator of “Pour nos Tomodachi”, the French version of“ For our tomodachi” a governmental magazine, he strongly contributed to the promotion of La Francophonie among the PMO. JAPAN and the WORLD attended the French Language World Forum 2015 in Liège with Mr. Nagata and interviewed him upon his return to Tokyo.

—Mr. Nagata, you are now (until September 2015) Deputy Director, Global Communications Office in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO). Being in charge of Francophonie, your initiatives have included a lot of interesting projects to promote Japan internationally such as “We are Tomodachi” and “Pour nos Tomodachi.” You also initiated a young francophone Japanese delegation to represent Japan at the French Language World Forum 2015 in Belgium. Can you tell us about yourself and your ambitions?

As you mention, I am currently in charge of global communications, especially for French-speaking countries. Personally, I had the opportunity to study in France, and since joining the Prime Minister’s Office, I have been able to enlarge my view of the world.

Since Japan is more and more well-known, I am trying to share and deepen the understanding of Japan around the world via grass roots level activities and face-to-face direct communications, as this is the best way to develop exchanges.

In the Global Communications Office, we strive to explain Japan to the world, and we have been developing tools to support that. “We are Tomodachi”, a magazine where we showcase the initiatives of Japan in the field of international relationships.

—You accompanied the Japanese delegation to Liege last July, what were the outcomes of the trip?

Our objectives were to introduce Japan to French-speaking audiences, but also to make young French-speaking Japanese understand the wealth and diversity of La Francophonie and I think that on these two accounts, the delegation was a success. This was a week of exchanges and learning about one another, and we had a very positive response from other participants of the Forum.

The delegation was a first step. We are now moving toward the second one where we will keep building the momentum by organizing media and educational sessions in Japan, to familiarize Japanese audiences with La Francophonie and the opportunities it represents for the future.

—Japan is actively promoting itself in the international community. The image of Japan in very positive. How does Japan wish to be perceived? How important are the francophone countries for Japan?

I am very glad to hear that Japan’s image is positive! I think this is a process that started years ago, with Japan getting more and more open to the world, notably via its soft culture.

The Japanese delegation on the go in Belgium.
The Japanese delegation on the go in Belgium.

Japan has strong advantages in a variety of domains. Japan and Japanese companies enjoy useful strengths, like the concept “Kaizen,” which can help each individual to have a confidence in his or her own abilities, and to build up efforts going forward in order to forge the future. We have a distinctive culture and we are open to sharing it with the world.

The francophone countries represent more than 200 million people from diverse horizons, which represents opportunities culturally and economically speaking. With upcoming international events [the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games for instance], of which French is an official language, the rise of inbound tourism to Japan and the potential of co-development, we are committed to reinforcing our ties with French-speaking countries. Let me emphasize—we share the same values of democracy and diversity.

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