Awaji Conference Statement 2000

The Asia Pacific Forum, Awaji Conference Japan 2000
(August 10th 2000, Awaji Yumebutai International Conference Center)

There has never been a single Asian civilization. Civilizations, like that of ancient Rome, take on the characteristics of empty houses, so to speak, that have been built by specific owners and dispossessed thereafter. Modern civilization is one such magnificent empty house. Today, Asia's enthusiastic efforts to get to grips with modern civilization serve to expand its common characteristics. An Asian civilization must be created from now on.

The information technology (IT) revolution, with America at the forefront, is accelerating change, and upping the pace of globalization, as it were, from 10 kilometers an hour to 50 kilometers an hour.
However, the effects of the IT revolution can be reduced by as much as 10% in those countries lacking transparency of information, like Japan.

It is a fact that Japan has played a leading role in the modernization of Asia. However, countries that were once lagging behind are now prevailing and gaining a competitive edge. Japan must reevaluate its strategy in light of these recent developments in Asia and renew its initiative.

Faced with this prognosis, during the lost decade of the 1990s, Japan was conspicuous for its bad practice that advocated postponing self-reform by avoiding the pain experienced when confronting problems and just simply being content with criticizing those in power.
Pragmatism, the sound determination to confront issues head-on and resolve them with one's own hands, must be restored. Japan must reclaim its sense of responsibility to venture down the path of future-oriented self-reform.

Given that the IT revolution is quickening the pace of globalization, Japan can no longer viably cling to a policy of insularity, but must learn to live together with the rest of the world, establishing its identity amid global change.

Each Asian country, while based on its own traditions, has incorporated other civilizations in order to form its own unique " hybrid " culture and civilization.

Asia cannot afford to be a narrow-minded "Asia for Asia alone." The U.S. presence in Asia is indispensable, and the Asia Pacific region must pursue a regionalism that is open to the world and that transcends all existing forms of regionalism.

At one point, Western Europe and the United States divided up Asia to their own advantage, but once Asia began demonstrating its miraculous development, their focus turned to Asia in relation to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM). Following the currency crisis of July 1997, it was thought that Japan should play a role in Asia, and the rapid loss of enthusiasm in the state of affairs is unforgivable. Asian countries, starting with Japan, will be called upon to make efforts to take the lead in Asia's involvement in complementing those areas in which America is superior by adding a sound human element.

(Specific Proposals)

Based on the above discussions, we propose to promote the conclusion of a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between Japan, Singapore, and the Republic of Korea, as a partnership of open and forward-looking cooperation. The Japanese people must not be hindered by former domestic obstacles, but must instead form flexible, international, mutually complementary relationships and work to kindle a new socio-economic dynamic. This is the message we would like to send out from the Awaji Conference Japan.

It is important for Japan to heighten its sensitivity towards Asia and its national understanding of the civilizations of Asian countries. The role of the Awaji Conference Japan is to understand, appreciate, and value the good elements of Asia, and to provide fora in which Asian intellectual human resources can work actively. In order to promote a symbiotic multi-cultural society, we would like to put forward a proposal for an award associated with Takataya Kahei, an Awaji-born trader of the early 19th century, assumed a role in grassroots diplomacy.

The Awaji Conference Japan calls for community building in the Asia Pacific region, through exchange at private and local levels transcending relationships between countries.
The enhancement of a civil society and its network is also progressing rapidly in the region, and we must aspire toward a body of youth that envisages this perspective.

This area, the land of which was used to build Port Island and Rokko Island, as well as the man-made island for the Kansai International Airport, has been returned to its natural beauty, and although this region was the epicenter of the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake in 1995, the Akashi Kaikyo Bridge was opened, and the Awaji Yumebutai International Conference Center was built on Awaji Island-the dream stage for a drama of revival.
The Awaji Conference Japan proclaims that this area will be the base for Asia Pacific civilization in the new century.

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