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For mutual understanding and peaceful coexistence between different cultures, analyses of cultural aspects, such as religion, race and tradition, are indispensable, and the importance of culture in foreign relations is growing.
In recent years, there have been an increasing number of large-scale cultural programs, which are organized by the joint organizing committees of various organizations and sponsors from the government and private sector, with a view to presenting Japan in a comprehensive manner. For example, in 1997 the "Year of Japan in France" was organized, which comprised approximately 350 programs including the exhibition of the Kudara Kannon of Horyu-ji Temple. Similarly, in 1999, the "Year of France in Japan" was organized, composed of approximately 600 programs including the exhibition of Eugene Delacroix's "Liberty Leading the People," and received high praise.
In the year 2000, various cultural events are planned in both the Netherlands and in Japan to celebrate 400 years of Japan-Netherlands relations. In 2001, "Japan 2001," a large-scale cultural event on Japan, is scheduled to be organized throughout the U.K. with London as the central venue.
In 2002, Japan and Korea will jointly host the FIFA World Cup, and in conjunction with this event, cultural exchange programs will be organized between the two countries. For these programs, the government will study the possibility of large-scale cultural exchange programs including the organization of exhibitions by representative museums of both countries, with a view to building a new relationship between Japan and Korea in the field of culture as well as in sports.
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