Kudo's Blog;Genron NPO fetes 10th birthday with fresh determination

January 13, 2012

The Genron NPO observed the 10th anniversary of its founding in a ceremony at a Tokyo hotel Dec. 5 with some 300 leading figures from political, business, academic and media circles gathering as its supporters and sympathizers.

In an address, Representative Yasushi Kudo recalled the difficult but challenging 10 years of The Genron NPO's activities and expressed his resolve to pursue his cause in the coming 10 years. "I founded The Genron NPO 10 years ago when the entire world was in tumult one month after 9/11. Japan witnessed the birth of the government of Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi," he recalled. "My motive was to create a forum for the presentation and exchange of responsible opinions for the future of this country," he added.


According to Kudo, he was, and remains suspicious of the Japanese media's commitment to presenting responsible opinions. "They just go along with and accommodate the general social atmosphere while political parties and politicians fret over the ups and downs of media approval ratings," he said.

For the purpose of changing the status quo, The Genron NPO has been struggling over the past 10 years to create a sense of tension between the voters and politics, as typified by a thorough scrutiny of policy pledges, or manifestos, of major political parties by a panel of experts and the release of the evaluation to the general public, Kudo said.

For instance, the group gave a low mark of only 20 out of 100 points to the manifesto of the Democratic Party of Japan when the party seized power from the Liberal Democratic Party in a historic change of government two years ago. Given the present political stalemate, the group's evaluation has proven correct, Kudo said.

Another challenge The Genron NPO set itself was the creation six years ago of a non-governmental channel of dialogue and communication between Japan and China in the form of the annual Tokyo-Beijing Forum, which continues, he added.

After the lapse of 10 years, Kudo admitted, the group's activities have not yet produced tangible results. "While remembering our starting point, I am resolved to develop our campaign in the coming 10 years," he stressed.

Specifically, Kudo set two challenges for his group to address in 2012. The first is to organize a venue for Japan's opinion leaders to conduct professional and practical debate for the presentation of solutions to Japan's domestic and global issues. In addition to the conventional dialogue between Japan and China, the group would build up a forum for multinational exchanges of opinions to address Asian and global issues.

The second challenge is to generate interchanges between the debates by opinion leaders and the general public, according to Kudo. "Our ultimate goal is to create a strong democracy by means of the formation of sound public opinion," he concluded.