Sophisticated and exquisite, the city of Adelaide in the state of South Australia was my home for the month of February. I have been coming to this city since 1976, and I now see it as a clear symbol of the profound transformation that has overtaken a country that was once a backwater of various repugnant values and is, at present, one of the world's most genuinely cosmopolitan nations.

Australia's transition and progress from racism into a sincerely liberal-minded openness, from a binding provincialism into a lifestyle of unabashed tolerance, presents a lesson to many countries: National character is flexible. A single generation passes and the most reactionary instincts can be nullified. If South Australia, once remote from reform and dry-as-dust intolerant, can turn trend into a festival of multicultural mores, then perhaps there is even hope for an intensely close-knit and single-purpose-ethnic Japan.

Australia today is a fledgling multicultural state, with all of the advantages and drama that a rich ethnic mix brings in its wake. Japan, ever fearful of the consequences of allowing migrants across its borders, seems to focus on the tensions of multicultural mingling, as if disharmony and violence around the world were caused in large part by the coming together of ethnic groups. The media in Japan generally ignore the good stories of migration, emphasizing hardship and social disarray. It still serves the interests of those who control and rule Japan that the national formula be kept pure, thin and altered solely by the "right" hands.