TOKYO: Toru Morikawa was elected to be the next executive director of the Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF) on Thursday. It is the first time that a Japanese candidate has been chosen for the position.
A statement from the Japanese government expressed the hope that the ASEF’s activities will be further advanced under the leadership of Morikawa, who currently serves as the minister of the Embassy of Japan in Iran, and that Japan will continue to promote cooperation with the foundation.
ASEF was started in 1997 as a permanent body of the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM), which is made up of 53 members from Europe and Asia. The goal of ASEM is to promote cooperation between the two continents in the areas of politics, economy and culture.
ASEF is specifically focused on socio-cultural activities, including exchanges of experts and the general public. It is also engaged in public health initiatives that Japan contributes to. These include helping member states stockpile supplies to address outbreaks of infectious disease and workshops on public health emergencies.
A new executive director of ASEF is elected every four years and alternates between Europe and Asia.