Japan became the 80 member nation of the United Nations in 1956, and earlier than that, in 1947, amid the post-war chaos in the country, the activities of the United Nations Association of Japan were launched as a citizens' grass roots movement aimed at Japan's attainment of UN membership.
I believe that when I - a person from the cultural domain - was called upon in 2002 to become president of this Association, whose past presidents had inevitably been connected with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and had even served as Foreign Affairs Minister, the following idea was behind my choice. In our present day and age, rife with international political and financial confrontations, it turns out that cultural diplomacy, serving to promote cultural reciprocity, is important in order to advance the parity between nations. It is essential to understand a country's cultural background if one is to properly recognize that country. Rather than politicians or people of the financial world, each individual citizen can be a diplomatic agent in this kind of diplomacy.
People worldwide have their eyes focused on the United Nations' current condition as it functions under UN Secretary-General António Guterres. Issues have been rising one after the other, and it does not appear that the original aims of the UN are being fulfilled. The majority of the 193 member nations, other than a handful, are still under autocratic governments, and cases of undemocratic behavior exist.
Also, despite the fact that Japan, in its bid to become a permanent member nation of the UN Security Council, contributes the second to the largest amount of funding, only 3% of the UN staff are from Japan. This makes it impossible for Japan to assert its opinions within the UN. Some suggest that language skills are to blame, but I surely do not think that this is the only cause. One other probable cause is that the UN itself as it stands today is not attractive, and we might say that the fact that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as well as the nation as a whole is not giving young people strong backing is another.
In this sense, as well, the United Nations Association of Japan shall strive hard this year too, so that the people of Japan might achieve a closer familiarity with the mechanism of the UN.
I wish to petition people everywhere for their understanding and cooperation.

Genshitsu Sen
United Nations Association of Japan