Ever since we launched The Genron NPO, our activities to strengthen democracy in Japan have been based on the notion that Japan will not change until the electorate get stronger. On January 7th, as we embarked on a new year that will mark 70 years since the end of World War II, our president, Yasushi Kudo, left for Jakarta, to find out if it is possible to create a new civil movement that continues our activities with the involvement of South East Asian countries such as Indonesia.
On the first day Kudo's visits began with meetings with Mr. Asep Suryahadi and Ms. Nuning Akhmadi (respectively Director and External Affairs Officer) at the SMERU Research Institute, and Dr. Bachtiar Alam (Vice Rector) at the University of Indonesia, where he explained The Genron NPO's activities since it was founded and exchanged views on democracy and civil society in Indonesia and Japan.
These meetings were followed by a visit to Mr. Hassan Wirajuda (former foreign minister of Indonesia) who shared his experiences setting up the Bali Democracy Forum and his current focus on Track II activities. Mr. Wirajuda has developed an approach that is philosophically extremely close to our own and there was an animated exchange of opinions which included him expressing empathy with the activities of The Genron NPO.
There was also a meeting with Mr. Budiman Tanuredjo (Editor-in-Chief of Kompas, the Indonesian daily newspaper) where Kudo discussed the media's responsibility in a democracy, public opinion polls and evaluations of the government carried by The Genron NPO, and similar polls carried out by Kompas such as their quarterly evaluation of the government and their evaluation of presidential hopefuls in Indonesia.
Please check Kudo's video blog "Reflections on a visit to Indonesia and India; a new year to create a movement for peace and make democracy function" for more information on the visit to Indonesia and India.