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History, Objectives and Functions

Japan was admitted to UNESCO in 1951, five years before it became a member of the United Nations. At the 6th UNESCO General Conference which admitted Japan, Japan's chief representative, Mr. Tamon Maeda, stated, “The spirit of UNESCO is the guiding principle for Japan, which is on the path of rebuilding itself as a peace-loving and democratic state.”
Japan's admission to UNESCO, the only pipeline between the country and the international community before signing of the San Francisco Peace Treaty, had its roots in the spontaneous rise of non-governmental UNESCO activities in the country soon after the war. At that time there were already over 100 “UNESCO Co-operative Associations” (now UNESCO Associations) active throughout the country, as well as nearly 100 UNESCO Clubs at high schools and universities. This non-governmental UNESCO movement gained the attention of UNESCO Headquarters and major UNESCO members, who judged that though Japan was one of the countries which provoked World War II, the Japanese themselves were a peace-loving people. The non-governmental UNESCO movement which first started in Japan has now spread to 5000 UNESCO clubs in more than 100 nations throughout the world.

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NFUAJ was the central figure in creating the international non-governmental UNESCO organization. It has dispatched missions throughout the world on several occasions since the beginning of the 1960s, and in 1974, upon the recommendation of UNESCO Headquarters, contributed to the creation of the Asian Pacific Federation of UNESCO Clubs and Associations (AFUCA).

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After the formation of AFUCA, NFUAJ played a leading role in establishing a worldwide organization of non-governmental UNESCO associations. These efforts bore fruit in July 1981, when representatives of non-governmental UNESCO organizations from 70 nations met at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris and founded the World Federation of UNESCO Clubs, Centres and Associations (WFUCA). Kiyoshi Kazuno, then President of NFUAJ, was elected as the first WFUCA president. At the strong urging of member nations, the First WFUCA World Congress was held in Japan, the birthplace of the non-governmental UNESCO movement, in July 1984. This Congress strengthened the non-governmental UNESCO network. In 1987, WFUCA was recognized as a Category A consultative organization (NGO), and now has Formal Associate Relations to UNESCO. The WFUCA secretariat is located within UNESCO Headquarters.

1945.11.16Adoption of the UNESCO Constitution
1946.11.4Enactment of the UNESCO Constitution
1947.7.19Birth of the Sendai UNESCO Association, the first UNESCO Association in the world
1947.11.27First National Convention of UNESCO Movement in Japan held in Tokyo
1948.5.1Foundation of the National Federation of UNESCO Co-operative Associations in Japan
1951.7.2Japan admitted to UNESCO
1951.8.14Name changed to the National Federation of UNESCO Associations in Japan
1952.4.9Certified a "corporation" by the Ministries of Education and Foreign Affairs
1952.6.21Proclamation of a Japanese law concerning UNESCO activities
1956.12.18Japan admitted to the United Nations
1974.7.15Foundation of the Asian Pacific Federation of UNESCO Clubs and Associations
1981.6.16Foundation of the World Federation of UNESCO Clubs, Centres and Associations
1983.3.25Certified a “Juridical Person for Experimental and Research Activities”by the Ministries of Education and Foreign Affairs
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To promote activities among the Japanese people based on international solidarity and cooperation in the spirit of the UNESCO Constitution.

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General Conferences are held once a year, the Council Meeting meets two times a year and the Board of Directors is convened eight times a year. The Council Meeting consists of 150 representatives of constituent members (not exceeding 90), individual members (not exceeding 40), associate members (not exceeding 10), and supporting members (not exceeding 30). In addition, the Committee for Regional Activities, the Committee for the World Terakoya Movement, the Committee for World Heritage Programme are convened as necessary as advisory organs to the Director General of the Board:
Two members of NFUAJ and one representative of each of the nine national districts of UNESCO Associations are appointed to the members of Japanese National Commission for UNESCO, a governmental organization under the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology.

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In addition to membership fees and contributions, NFUAJ is financed by various sources of income, including subsidies from the government and local governments, donations from foundations and enterprises, and income gained through fund-raising activities.

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  1. Constituent Members:
    Local UNESCO Associations, youth groups and their regional liaison councils (279 organizations, 20,000 registered members). Membership fees for local UNESCO Associations vary, but are about 5,000 yen per year.
  2. Associate Members:
    Nationwide organizations in the field of education, science and culture, and national committees of UNESCO and United Nations NGOs (22 organizations)
  3. Individual Members:
    Persons who can make important contributions to UNESCO activities. The membership fee is 12,000 yen per year. (354 persons)
  4. Supporting Members:
    Individuals and organizations willing to give financial support to UNESCO activities. The membership fee is 120,000 yen per year. (314 organizations)

(The above figures are as of June, 2007)


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