The EU and Japan agreed at the 11th EU-Japan Summit in 2002 to designate 2005 the EU-Japan Year of People to People Exchanges. The overall aim of the 2005 Year was to develop exchanges, contact and understanding between people in Japan and the European Union.
The 2005 Year of People to People Exchanges encouraged and promoted face to face exchanges and contacts between people, as well as events and initiatives to promote better mutual understanding of European and Japanese society and culture. The Year should not be seen as a one-off event, but act as a boost to long-term promotion of people to people exchanges, in keeping with the aims of the Action Plan for EU-Japan Cooperation signed in December 2001.
The Year was be organised by the European Commission, the Member States of the EU and the Japanese Government. Activities and programmes covered a wide range of sectors, such as education, science and technology, culture, art, economics, politics and sports, and conducted by their organiser and promoter, were included in the Official Programme of the Year. The participation of a wide range of actors was encouraged, including academic and cultural bodies; civil society organisations; regional and local authorities; business, sports organisations and individual citizens. Special emphasis was placed on encouraging young people to participate. Events and activities were not only be organised and conducted at the Japan-EU level but also at the bilateral level, between Japan and Member States of the enlarged EU.
It was envisaged that in creating events and initiatives during the year, actors would make use of existing funding and grant systems where possible. Business, foundations and other sources of financing and sponsorship were encouraged to finance projects during the Year.
The Delegation of the European Commission to Japan organised a stamp rally at the EU Member States' Pavilions present on Aichi Expo 2005. From 1 to 9 May, visitors to the Expo could collect stamps at EU pavilions in the "EU Passport". 10 stamps entitled visitors to participate in a raffle to win a round-trip air ticket to Brussels. The raffle took place in the presence of Ambassador Bernhard ZEPTER of the Delegation of the European Commission on Monday, 9 May at the Polish Pavilion. The event was part of the official EU-Japan Year of People-to-People Exchanges Programme.
2005: EU-Japan Year of People to People Exchanges, 20 January 2005