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From the Organisers: WMDF005, Open Japan (2.0)

Welcome to WMDF's 005th Anniversary, co-located with our growing Mogu Mogu Festival offering yet "More Goods and More Gourmet" from around the world. We are bringing you another diverse and exciting line-up of artists, and are celebrating with a new third stage and by branching out into visual arts for the first time. Any audience member can make a visible impact by trying their hand at making designs for the giant flags that will decorate Motomachi Park next year. You just need to be able draw with a paper and pencil: WMDF will take care of the rest.

Last year, WMDF used "Open Japan" as a theme for the crucial work of convincing the world that the country was still safe and open for business. We succeeded in attracting a record attendance total, despite the last day washout.

This year's Open Japan (2.0) message is a reflection of the changes that have occurred in the country over the last year. There is a perceptible atmosphere of belief in the country that things can be rethought in deep and fundamental ways using the disaster as a catalyst. Harvard Professor Michael Sandel praises the atmosphere of lively debate. There is significant discussion about nuclear power and on the wider question of society's proper relation with the environment. This summer, a five-strong team including the philosopher Hiroki Azuma will publish a draft for a review of the country's constitution, "Japan 2.0".

Former Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda has called the March 11 earthquake a "once-in-a-millennium disaster". But once-in-a-millennium events can also be a spur for once-in-a-millennium thinking. How would the effects of the disaster have been different in Japan if its society had been built on different ideas about the consequences of time and on different notions about our connections to the world around us? At WMDF, we feel that our event, like Japan, has emerged from the passage of the year stronger, and more relevant. We wish you a big, long (and open) 2012.

Ian Frank, Naoto Soga, Takuma Fukuda, Motoaki Kitamura

 

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