Section 3. Protection of Japanese Abroad



1.  Protection of Japanese Involved in Accidents Abroad


The number of troubles and accidents handled by Japanese diplomatic and consular missions in fiscal 1986 amounted to 3,838 cases involving 4,229 people, and those killed or injured numbered 416. (The number of cases reported was larger than in previous years because, beginning in fiscal 1986, the statistics included insignificant incidents and accidents which had not so far been reported to the home Ministry.) Robbery and theft were the most prevalent form of cases, numbering 2,278 and affecting 2,381 Japanese. Among other characteristics, there was an increase of arrests of Japanese for crimes involving narcotic drugs in Asia, often punished with heavy penalties such as lifetime imprisonment, in the wake of the authorities' stepped-up campaigns against narcotics-related crimes. There also was an increase in troubles, notably in Europe, caused by Japanese in mental disorder stemming from their inability to adapt to the new environment of living abroad. In the United States, a growing number of Japanese suspected of connections with gangster organizations were refused entry, or arrested and expatriated for making false visa applications by not mentioning their previous criminal record.


Statistics on Assistance for Japanese Involved in Accidents and Other Incidents (Fiscal 1986)


The Ministry is running a 24-hour system for offering assistance to Japanese nationals abroad, in close cooperation with diplomatic and consul missions overseas as well as family members and relatives in Japan. Assistance services include the emergency issuance of passports, help to bring sick persons back home and advice on family members who travel abroad to join and help people involved in accidents or any other incidents. There also is a loan program to help Japanese in financial distress return home. In fiscal 1986, a total of 15 people in five cases used the lending system.

Most of troubles Japanese travelers get themselves involved in overseas can be prevented if they are adequately informed of the situation of countries they are visiting before their departure. The Foreign Ministry has been trying to provide information on security and other conditions in foreign countries, and, as part of these efforts, published the "Handbook on Safety Abroad" in March 1987.



2.  Protection of Japanese Nationals in Emergencies


(1)  In "emergencies," such as war, civil war or massive natural disasters, which Japanese nationals overseas cannot deal with on their own alone, Japanese diplomatic and consular missions abroad are playing a vital role in ensuring their safety through such measures as inquiries on their safety and advice on safety measures.

(2)  An increasing number of Japanese nationals are getting caught in these emergencies as a result of a large increase of Japanese people residing abroad. There were 23 emergency cases in 1986 which required some action or other by diplomatic or consular missions abroad. (See table below).

(3) To enhance the function of diplomatic and consular missions overseas in responding to emergencies, the Foreign Ministry earmarked a total of about \350 million as expenses related to protection of Japanese nationals in emergencies in its fiscal 1987 budget. The spending was designed to improve communications networks in emergencies.


Protection of Japanese Nationals in Emergencies in 1986



3.  Abductions


(1)  There were numerous cases of abductions all over the world in 1986. The one involving a Japanese national was the abduction of the Manila branch manager of Mitsui and Co., which occurred near Manila on November 15. The branch manager was rescued on March 31, 1987, 137 days after he was kidnapped. Since the target was the chief of a local subsidiary of a major Japanese corporation, the abduction case greatly shocked Japanese companies with overseas operations, and also left many lessons to learn in securing the safety of Japanese nationals overseas.

(2)  In parallel with investigations by the Philippine authorities, the Japanese Government has taken every possible step deemed appropriate from the view point of protecting Japanese citizens, including efforts to seek the release of the abducted branch manager through influential collaborators, for his rescue. Concerned about a possible adverse effect of the delay in solving the case on relations between the two countries, the Government dispatched a special envoy of the Prime Minister, who carried his personal letter and asked President Corazon Aquino for cooperation in seeking an early solution of the abduction case. President Aquino and other Philippine officials took great interest in the case and make their best efforts from the beginning to the end of the affair.



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