Placing Importance on Citizen Participation

As we have entered the twenty-first century, the importance of citizens, nonprofit organizations, and nongovernmental organizations as major elements of society will continue to grow. In order to make the EXPO 2005 theme of “Nature's Wisdom” a reality, it is extremely important to share with the world the nature of the partnerships involving citizen participation.

The role of citizens is not merely a passive one of plugging the gaps left by the market and government; citizens have within them the latent potential to respond flexibly to the global issues and needs of society in the twenty-first century in ways that differ from the conceptions of existing frameworks.

In addition, faithfully pursiong their own mission wins sympathy from even greater numbers of citizens, offering the chance to organically link various types of volunteer activities. The arrival of the Internet society-the symbol of the age of information technology-has also further strengthened bonds among citizens, and the scope of activity has grown from within citizens' own country to the point where it is now very easy to expand those activities overseas.

EXPO 2005 calls for the participation of citizens who bring with them a variety of perspectives. The participation of citizens beyond their own station will be effective in changing points of view, realizing mutual understanding of differing standpoints, and finding problem areas and devising solutions. EXPO 2005 aims to create opportunities to develop this type of citizen participation.