How would you describe the current relationship between Japan and France in terms of culture and trade?
Japan and France respect each other’s culture. French culture has long been a symbol of admiration in Japan, and France has had a great influence on Japan in a wide range of fields such as art, fashion and literature.
In France, Japanese culture occupies a major position and food, anime and martial arts are good examples. In Paris, Japanese restaurants are popular and there are long lines in front of many famous ramen stores. Many events featuring Japanese themes are also very successful. Based on this mutual understanding of culture, economic exchange is also very active between both countries.
What role does CLAIR play in strengthening the relationship between the two countries?
Clair Paris was established in 1990 as a joint agency for Japanese local governments in France. For more than 30 years, we have strengthened the cooperation between Japanese and French local governments and achieved many results such as the establishment of sister cities.
In recent years, we have been focusing on economic activities such as tourism expositions and industrial exhibitions, and we are currently working on webinars on industrial clusters. We believe these efforts will contribute to the strengthening of the relationship between Japan and France.
With France and Japan recovering from the pandemic, what are your hopes for the future of the relationship?
I hope that the recovery from the pandemic will enable the two countries to build a closer relationship through actual people-to-people contacts.
For example, the 7th Japan-France Local Government Exchange Conference will be held next year in Aix-en-Provence, France and many heads of French and Japanese local governments will gather.
I believe this kind of conference will be of great significance for the development of mutual understanding between Japan and France and for the enrichment of the Japan-France relationship. I strongly hope that this pandemic will subside soon and many meetings can be held not on line but in person.
What message do you have for our readers regarding the future of CLAIR in Paris?
I believe that it is a fundamental human desire to interact across borders and to experience new values and cultures. Such a desire is a drive to foster the development of regions. I am convinced that exchanges between Japan and France will have a great and positive effect on both countries, as they share common values.
The two countries both have been creating new things through trial and error while preserving and respecting their long and rich histories. Clair Paris will continue to serve as a bridge between Japan and France, and we will do our utmost to improve the relationship between the two countries.