On 1st February 2018, the Global Asia Studies Unit of the Top University Project held a seminar title “Japan’s Public Diplomacy in Indonesia: Examining the outcome of the Japan-East Asia Network of Exchange for Students and Youth (JENESYS) Programme” by Ms. Indriana Kartini, M.A. Ms. Kartini is the Head of the Sub-division for Dissemination and Cooperation at the Research Center for Politics, Indonesian Institute of Sciences. She was a visiting lecturer at the International Relations Department of UPN ‘Veteran’ Jakarta and UIN Syarif Hidayatullah Jarkata.
Ms. Kartini explained that people-to-people exchange/human resource development is central to Japan’s vision for foreign diplomacy and international development. This belief leads to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s decision to launch the JENESYS programme in 2007 and JENESYS 2.0 in 2013 to promote strong solidarity among Asian and East Asian Summit (EAS) countries. The program has participants from Asia-Pacific region to visit Japan and attend cultural activities, while Japanese participants visit Japanese companies, institutes abroad.
Ms. Kartini observed that the JENESYS was in line with both the Five Principles of Japan’s ASEAN Diplomacy and the Vision Statement on ASEAN-Japan Friendship and Cooperation. She argued that the program resulted in promoting a positive impression towards Japan in Indonesia. Over 70% of Indonesians had favorable view about Japan in a 2014 BBC survey. More Indonesians also consider studying the Japanese language in recent years. According to Ms. Kartini, this positive change further led to improvement in bilateral relationship between Indonesia-Japan in 2010s. She concluded that Japan’s public diplomacy has been successful so far, partially thanked to the long-term investment in the JENESYS programme.
The floor was opened to discussion after the seminar. The audience was eager to inquire further on the framework of Ms. Kartini’s research and her data set. Some expressed interest in a further study to compare the programs between Japan and other East Asian countries. A former participant of JENESYS also shared some experience and opinions with the rest of the audience.