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Business executives and academic leaders announced Sept. 3 the launch of a unique foundation with the aim of teaching bashful Japanese individuals how to effectively express themselves.

Officially licensed by the Education Ministry on July 8, the International Performance Education Foundation plans to promote better communication and presentation skills to Japanese, who are often weak in that area, especially in the international arena, they said. “For businessmen who are active abroad, good communication, presentation and debating skills are indispensable,” said Shizuo Morioka, who is president of both the foundation and Yamanouchi Pharmaceutical Co. “We want our organization to be a base from which we can promote sound performance skills to society.”

Through organizing lectures and seminars, issuing newsletters, training performance education instructors and conducting research on performance education, the organization hopes their endeavor will reach a wide clientele from businesspeople to housewives and retirees. The foundation also plans to hold an international conference on performance education in 1999, the first such event in Japan.

“We want to let people know better ways to express themselves in the international arena without giving up the good parts of Japanese communication style,” said Ayako Sato, the foundation board chairman and a professor at Jissen Women’s University. Sato, who is known for introducing performance studies to Japan in 1980, emphasized the importance of acquiring such skills, saying that no one can achieve self-realization without achieving self-expression skills.

The foundation will be operated solely on membership fees and without subsidies from the Education Ministry, according to organization officials. The foundation’s predecessor, the International Performance Research Association, founded in 1992, has over 260 regular members. With its transfer into a corporate body complete, organizers hope to see its membership grow.

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