On April 23rd, 2018, the International School Network was welcomed to the Italian Embassy for an interview meeting. Our questions were answered by His Excellency Mr. Giorgo Starace, Ambassador of Italy to Japan, who helped us gain a deeper understanding of the many aspects of Italy and its relationship with Japan.
In regard to how Italy promotes gender equality and female empowerment, H.E. Mr. Starace explained that in Italy this social issue is a popular topic and the gender balance of the cabinet is often a focus of attention. Although Italy used to be a male dominant society, female empowerment has advanced to the point where female ministers consisted half of the previous
government and the role of the minister of defense is filled by a woman. The country has invented new political formula over the years and today, there is a completely new parliament with not only more women but also younger politicians. Italy is indeed “a laboratory of innovation” in politics. While former leader Silvio Berlusconi made use of television for his political campaign, social media was used effectively and at a great extent in the recent election as a means to connect with the younger population. This change denotes how the ruling class is adjusting to the changes in society.
Although Italy and Japan face similar challenges, H.E. Mr. Starace believes Japan is overlooking the gigantic contribution that women could give to the economy. He also suggests that Japan can learn from how Italy is promoting its beautiful territory. There is a network of agritourism in Italy where agricultural workers invest some of their resources and time into tourism.
The development of tourism in smaller areas encourages young people to stay and invest in their hometowns instead of leaving to bigger cities. There is a lot Japan can learn from this experience in order to prevent further rural depopulation.
H.E. Mr. Starace expressed to us that he hopes to see his efforts in shaping the relation between Italy and Japan bear fruit. He also hopes the partnership between the two countries will flourish through achieving further cooperation in as many fields as possible.
By Arisa Sasaki