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Message from President

The Japan Debate Association (JDA) was inaugurated in March 1986 with the aim of promoting debate activities and developing debate skills in Japan.

Debate is a competitive form of communication conducted according to specific rules, where two teams–the “Affirmative” and the “Negative”–oppose each other on an issue. The Affirmative team stands in favor of the proposition, called a “resolution”, and the negative team takes a stand against it, in one of several ways. Each side presents its own case based on research and analysis of the resolution, and advocates this stand throughout the debate by responding to and refuting their opponents’ arguments.

The primary purpose of debate is to persuade a third party, that is, the debate judge and/or the audience. Debate is a very effective tool for making decisions in the various situations we face daily in society. It is, therefore, used in education and training programs to develop essential abilities, such as researching and analyzing specific issues, thinking critically and logically, conducting reasoned discourse, and making clear and logical verbal presentations of theresults of these processes.

As Japan works to maintain and increase its role in the international arena, it is called upon to make choices which reflect its own priorities as a nation, and to advocate the validity of these choices in ways clearly understood by its counterparts. Within the Japanese society, too, it will become more and more necessary to identify unequivocally where disagreements lie, and to work out solutions which take a number of different opinions and standpoints respectfully into account.

Japan, coming from a communication tradion of “tacit understanding” should be able to extend the mutual respect inherent in this tradition to the special requirements of today’s multicultural society, where clarity of expression promotes, rather than precludes, harmonious and beneficial results.

The need for debate in Japanese society and education has been advocated more often than not. However, what might be called a debate tradition has not necessarily taken firm root. Therefore, it is the task of those debaters, judges, and aspiring practitioners of debate throughout Japan to join in exchanging ideas and information in order to promote sound debate activities.

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