On my visit to the Consulate General of Japan, the Consul General and his staff briefly explained to me the current situation of Brazil and Sao Paulo. According to them, Sao Paulo is famous for its largest number of Japanese immigrants with its longest history, and the gathering of 47 associations coming from the metropolis, Tokyo and all other prefectures (the largest administrative unit). I also met with the chairmen and other staff of two associations from Fukuoka and Yamaguchi prefectures. They told me about their long experiences of hard work and hardships which had resulted in the prosperity of Sao Paulo in the later years, and also stressed the importance of diplomatic activities by the private sector. These material and moral legacies which predecessors of Japanese immigrants left still permeate Sao Paulo.
The ‘Japan House’, which is a Japanese information center to disseminate various kinds of information on Japan, opened in Sao Paulo last year. As one of the global communication policies of the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, it aims to provide further detailed information on Japan to the people of Brazil and other Latin American countries who are relatively familiar with Japan. I told an officer in charge of the House that the exhibits and the like of Japanese culture and social life were well categorized and organized, but that we should address more proactively Japan’s political and historical issues regarding, for example, the territorial waters of Japan and the comfort women during the Second World War. This House is scheduled to open in London and Los Angeles as well.
I visited several Japanese companies. About 500 Japanese companies are branching out in Sao Paulo. Executives of Hitachi Ltd., Mitsubishi Corporation and Sojitz Corporation explained to me their business experiences in Sao Paulo, and said that Japanese companies’ business achievements were generally good. According to them, potentiality and possibility of the economic growth of Brazil and other Latin American countries are very high, but the problem is that these countries lack political stability and reliability. The presidential election of Brazil will be held in October, this year, but judging from the current domestic politics and the candidates’ ability, high economic growth cannot be expected.
The world and Latin American assembly for the world peace movement in the private sector was held in Sao Paulo. Congressmen in North and South American countries, people of religious organizations, scholars, campaigners in social movement participated in the assembly. They discussed various subjects such as realization of the world peace, alleviation of poverty, human rights of women, dissemination of education, and finally, approved the resolution that all parliaments and religious organizations in the world should cope with these issues surpassing religions, races and national boundaries. In addition, all these subjects were intensively discussed in the following sessions on politics, economy, religion, culture, and women’s issues respectively. About 30 Japanese people, including four Diet members, scholars, and religious workers participated in this assembly. They got acquainted with each other in no time. During the coffee break, we, Japanese people, exchanged greeting cards with many foreign participants. The closing ceremony of the Latin American assembly took place at a huge soccer stadium, and I was impressed by its scale as well as the large number of participants.