IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Concept of Cultural Diversity in the Context of the WTO Agreement: Some thoughts on the treatment of content items and the relationship with the UNESCO Convention on Cultural Diversity (Japanese)


  • KAWASE Tsuyoshi


Thus far, globalization has caused a cross-border diffusion of cultures, which could result in a homogeneous "global culture" (i.e., Americanization of culture). As a result, concern about the loss of diversity has become increasingly strong. In the face of such sense of crisis, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Convention on Cultural Diversity (2005) confirmed the sovereign rights of the parties to take measures for the protection and promotion of cultural diversity, including those to protect and develop their domestic cultural industries. In effect, these measures include a great variety of national measures such as screen quota, subsidies, etc. However, such measures accord essentially preferential treatment to domestic or specific countries' content items. They are therefore inevitably in conflict with international trade rules, especially the non-discrimination principles of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreement (most-favored-nation (MFN) and national treatment principles). Nevertheless, both the WTO Agreement and Cultural Diversity Convention are not equipped with a sufficient mechanism for inter-regime adjustments. In addition, the general principles of interpretation and application of treaties in the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties could hardly contribute to the reconciliation of these two agreements. The government of Japan promotes "Cool Japan" as part of its growth strategy, known as the "third arrow" of Abenomics. It is therefore an urgent policy issue to facilitate the promotion of Japanese contents overseas through the "mega-regions," i.e., large-scale regional economic integrations, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). With this in mind, this article, focusing on the aspects of trade in content items as trade in goods, presents the current status of the conflicts between the principles of cultural diversity and free trade, and gives some suggestions for further discussion on the future of international trade rules in this context.

Suggested Citation

  • KAWASE Tsuyoshi, 2013. "Concept of Cultural Diversity in the Context of the WTO Agreement: Some thoughts on the treatment of content items and the relationship with the UNESCO Convention on Cultural Diversity (Japanese)," Discussion Papers (Japanese) 13056, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).
  • Handle: RePEc:eti:rdpsjp:13056

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    More about this item

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eti:rdpsjp:13056. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (MATSUKURA, Taeko). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.