The Japan Forum on International Relations (JFIR) was established in 1987. In those days, though still in the midst of the Cold War, people already began to sense a premonition of gradual changes in international relations through such events as developments brought about by "perestroika" in the Soviet Union and the signing of an agreement for the complete abolition of INF (Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces) between the United States and the Soviet Union.
The Forum was founded by a group of independent citizens from various circles of Japan who, promptly foreseeing the advent of a new era, wanted to make studies and recommendations about the course and role that Japan should undertake in the international community.
In retrospect, the Forum has published 33 policy recommendations by its Policy Council and hosted a number of international conferences and symposia in various parts of the world. The Forum has also organized a number of study groups and project teams in order to elucidate the nature of frontier issues of the times.
Here, it is my pleasure to announce that the Forum has just made a fresh start by being reincorporated as a public-interest foundation. I would like to take this opportunity to reiterate my sincere appreciation to all those members and friends of the Forum who have kindly guided and generously supported us in all the aspects of our activities, bearing in mind that the forum owes to them the high esteem it has won both at home and abroad for its achievements.
As 9/11 Terrorist Attack and ethnic conflicts all over the world illustrate, the world order still remains unsettled and is becoming increasingly chaotic. Today, Japan is also experiencing a paradigm shift, which leads the era of the nation-state to the era of individuals, civilians, and localities. At this juncture of historic reforms, I am convinced that the raison d'etre of the Forum as a "private, non-profit and independent" think tank in the field of foreign policy and international affairs is increasing.
While firmly undertaking our mission and inheriting the wishes of the late Dr. Okita Saburo, the first Chairman, and the late Mr. Hattori Ichiro, the first President, we are determined to promote enthusiastically our activities with an aim of contributing to the peace and prosperity of the world community. It is my pleasure to announce the opening of the Forum's web site. The Forum wishes to explore the possibility of strengthening its access to the popular audience both at home and abroad through the effective use of a new method of dissemination in the age of high-technology information revolution. Before closing my remarks, let me hope that you will continue to provide us with your support and cooperation.