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Special interveiw for Vicente Fox, former president of Mexico "I admire Japanese culture and people"

Hello everyone. MEXITOWN had the interview for forner President of Mexico, Mr. Vicente Fox. He was born in Guanajuato and was the president of Mexico from 2000 to 2006. During his term, he made the Free Trade Agreement with Japan and he is very big fun of the Japanese culture and so on. After he retired from the president, he established the Centro Fox Foundation and opened Hacienda San Cristobal in San Francisco del Rincon, Guanajuato. He and his colleagues are always very welcomed for Japanese visitors.

In this interview, President Vicente Fox talked about his memories in Japan and with ex-Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi. Let's take a look.



The great Japanese culture that I love the most

Japan their discipline and teamwork impacted for may people

Guanajuato is changed, more opened for foreginers

Information of Hacienda San Cristobal


The great Japanese culture that I love the most

1.- Please share your memories when you visited in Japan. If you visited Japan several times, please pick up some memories that you never forget.

  • The great Japanese culture, people´s education, discipline, order and punctuality.

  • The wonderful city of Tokyo, a city full of life, and beauty of Mount Fuji.

  • The reception with the Emperor and the Empress, their great warmth and kindness, and the strict protocol.

  • The tea ceremony.

  • The technology developed in Osaka.

2.- When you were president of Mexico, the Japanese Prime Minister was Junichiro Koizumi. Please give 3 episodes with him.

I traveled twice to Japan as President of Mexico, one in 2001 and the other in 2003; and I welcomed Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi in 2002 for the APEC Leaders Meeting in Los Cabos, Baja California, and in 2004 for the signature of the Economic Partnership Agreement in Mexico city.

I remember we arrived in Tokyo on a Japan airlines flight. We were received by Japanese government officials and by the Mexican embassy in Japan. After a short welcome ceremony, we proceed to the Prime Minister's residence.

Upon arrival we were received by the Prime Minister and we exchanged greetings and words of courtesy. We sat down at a round table and began to discuss the important issues in the relations between Mexico and Japan.

One of the topics discussed was the possibility of increasing trade between Mexico and Japan. I expressed to the Prime Minister my interest in increasing exports of Mexican products to Japan, while the Prime Minister spoke about the possibility of increasing Japanese investment in Mexico.

Another important topic that was discussed was cooperation in technology and innovation. We both agreed to work together on joint projects to promote technological development.

After the meeting, a photo was taken and later we attended a gala dinner organized by the Japanese government in my honor.

Japan their discipline and teamwork impacted for may people

3.- What is your impression for Japanese people and Japanese culture?

Good question, I would answer the other way around, first my impressions about Japanese culture and then my admiration for the Japanese, analyzing the culture first explains the way of being and the behavior of a people.

An observation before entering into the analysis of Japanese culture, I understand as culture traditions, language, religions, customs, values, way of life, culinary richness and manifestations of all kinds, not only the artistic, in short, a holistic vision of culture.

Thus seen, a very remarkable feature of Japanese culture draws attention, preserves its ancestral values and traditions without renouncing the modern, captures and perfectly combines the valuable of the ancient with the valuable of the modern, is conservative and evolutionary in a harmonious way, we can describe it as traditional and futuristic.

Of the traditional it is admirable that for the sake of modernity have not forgotten the set of rules concerning duties, obligations, ethical and honorable behavior, called Giri, as well as the preference for teamwork over individualism. So common in modern Western cultures.

From the modern they have adopted planning. Administration, technology and scientific research, as the most notorious examples, which enriched with the optics of commitment and traditional values, explain the success of Japan and its people.

With this rich culture and with so many manifestations that reach the whole world in artistic, culinary, literary, fashionable, economic, political and all kinds aspects, we can explain what qualities stand out in the majority of Japanese and that make the Japanese an admirable people.

They are honorable, disciplined, constant, hardworking, very punctual, firm in their commitments, they dominate teamwork like no other people and obtain excellent results, they are also very formal, friendly and courteous.

Now I'm going to touch on a topic regarding what I think is a lack of Japanese culture, nothing human is perfect and to the Japanese that I admire so much, I owe them my sincerity.

I understand the causes, Japan is an island and lived many years isolated and threatened by foreign invasions, the Japanese in general behave somewhat hermetic, they do not relate easily with foreigners or with the communities where they arrive and this frustrates me because the Japanese have a lot to teach and make important contributions to other cultures, the world would be enriched more if the Japanese contributed their knowledge and culture to the other cultures of the world, as a Mexican I feel that if my people learned from Japan their discipline and teamwork, they would improve a lot as a country.

Guanajuato is changed, more opened for foreginers

4.- Comparing with 10 years ago, What do you think how Guanajuato changed for life, environment, and others?

I'm going to take a little more time I'm going to consider from when we started a relationship with Japan in 1995, until the last full year, that is, 2022.

Guanajuato was a region of the country with little foreign investment, it stood out for its agro-industrial production, the production of clothing, footwear and leather products, in 1995, when I was elected Governor, unemployment was 6.2%, the number of workers was 1,570,184 employed, my challenge was to modify the negative trend that had been affecting the economy of Guanajuato since 1992.

It was a priority to adopt economic measures to make it modern, balanced and competitive, for this, academics and the best Guanajuato economists were invited to be part of the state government and citizens and private initiative were sought to participate, in order to make development. Be balanced, contribute to achieve greater and fairer social development and respect for the natural environment.

As a first instance and the most urgent was to reactivate the economy, the strategy we followed was in two tactics, the first was to help the local industry by intervening in aspects that hindered the performance of the local industry, such as the lack of credits to companies, for this a bank was founded that gave credits to those who wished to create their business, helping them in planning, market analysis, accounting and administration and family and small businesses that needed capital but for banking were not subject to credit. The number of entrepreneurs benefited by Banco Santa Fe de Guanajuato exceeded 40,000 from 1995 to 1999.

Another strategy was to attract foreign investment, especially where local companies did not have the knowledge, the necessary capital, or the means to invest and create such industries and at the same time take advantage of the geographical situation of the country, which is located in the middle of Asia and Europe, the neighborhood with the United States of America and take full advantage of the Free Trade Agreement with the United States and Canada. which had entered into force in 1994. An important objective was to build industrial parks in a good number of cities, seeking that municipalities that based their economy on agronomy could attract companies so that development was as equitable as possible.

As Guanajuato is located right in the center of the country, this represents the advantage of having 75% of the local market less than 500 Kms. But it had the disadvantage of being far from the borders and customs, so we created the Internal Customs attached to the airport near the city of León.

Several more things were done, but in my opinion these are the most remarkable, and the results have been good, a comparison between 1995 when we had the first contacts with Japan and 2022, the official data are as follows:




Unemployment rate



Employed workers



Foreign investment, which in 1995 was a few thousand million dollars and almost all came from the United States of America, now reports the Government of Mexico in its fourth report that the State of Guanajuato has received from January 1, 1999 to December 31, 2022 a total of $ 26,145 million US Cy dollars. And they come from various countries, mainly from the United States (with about 40% of total foreign investment), Japan, Germany, China, Taiwan. Spain and Italy.

It is not about filling with figures and making an excessively long answer, I believe that with these data it is enough and I comment that the strategy included artistic development and a very important one of receiving and assisting foreign executives and workers who arrived in Guanajuato with the new companies, as I inform that a Japanese school was made in Irapuato.

I hope I have been clear on this exciting, broad issue and where there is so much to contribute as is the issue of the integration of new societies that globalization is creating.

Beautiful photos from Hacienda San Cristobal in San Francisco del Rincon, Guanajuato.

In Hacienda, you can enjoy spa, bar, and fine food.

Hacienda San Cristobal always welcome your visit and primise your wonderful stays

5. Please give some messages to Japanese readers of MEXITOWN.


Information of Hacienda San Cristobal

Address: Carr. León - Cuerámaro km 13, 36440 San Cristóbal, Gto., Mexico

Tel: +52 477 325 5782

Booking from the website :



温 祥子(Shoko Wen)





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