In 1987, the Japan Center for International Exchange initiated a project series under the theme of strengthening the regional underpinnings of the Japan-US partnership. This volume, a result of the second study undertaken as part of this project from September 1988 to August 1989, focuses on seven Japanese prefectures with a view to identifying effective ways that these prefectures and their municipalities are promoting internationalization and exchange activities. Topics include the varying roles of central government, prefectural and municipal governments, and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in the promotion of regional internationalization and international exchange. Also mentioned are specific projects and programs, including international events, sister-city relationships, and exchange programs.
The study indicates that the major impetus for regional internationalization and exchange activities comes from the prefectural and local governments. Private NGOs dedicated to international exchange activities are still quite limited. In some prefectures, economic development and internationalization are strongly linked, while in others they are not. In general, prefectures promote regional internationalization not only to develop international economic activities but also to foster a general orientation of their citizens to be open to the world, thus reinforcing their own regional identity and pride and gaining dynamism for further regional development.
Conducted against the background of an increasingly acrimonious atmosphere in the Japan-US relationship, the study concludes that while progress toward regional bilateral exchange is encouraging, a tremendous and long-term investment in the development of these relations, as well as in the human resources needed to sustain them, remains an imperative.
The seven prefectures studied are Miyagi, Gifu, Shizuoka, Shiga, Shimane, Yamaguchi, and Kochi. Each prefectural case study includes two appendices: one listing sister-prefecture and sister-city affiliations and another listing organizations related to international exchange.