Chapter III. Foreign Policy Implementation Structure
1. Diplomatic Functions
(1) The Need to Strengthen Diplomatic Functions
The importance of diplomatic activities is rapidly increasing in every field of the international community after the end of the Cold War. In accordance with the rising international status of Japan, the volume of activities of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had been sharply increasing even before the end of the Cold War, and this trend has become even more pronounced in recent years. For example, during the 15 years between 1976 and 1992, the number of diplomatic cables, the principal means of communication between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Japan's overseas establishments, increased by about eight times; economic cooperation by about 10 times; the number of concluded international treaties and other agreements by about seven times; and the number of visa issuances by about four times. Moreover, as the number of overseas Japanese residents and tourists rises, the related work of the Ministry is also increasing, and there is a pressing need to deal with the situation properly.
In addition to the surge in these regular activities, Japan is required today to actively participate in the building of a new framework for world peace, prosperity and stability. It has become indispensable for Japan to strengthen and consolidate its diplomatic functions so as to pursue more active and creative foreign policy that suits the new era. Specifically, below is a list of items needed to be swiftly realized:
(a) Increasing the number of personnel, which continues to remain insufficient compared with those of other major industrialized countries.
(b) Enhancing the structure of the Ministry to improve execution of comprehensive and strategic diplomacy.
ese abroad and enhancing the crisis management system).
(d) Strengthening the Ministry's own intelligence functions (obtaining, communicating, analyzing, managing and providing information).
(2) Efforts to Improve Organization, Personnel and Budget
With the recognition of the goals above, the Ministry made the following efforts in 1993 to strengthen its organization, personnel and budget.
As for the organization, based on the first recommendation of the third Provisional Council for the Promotion of Administrative Reform made in July 1991 and the report of the Advisory Group to the Foreign Minister on the Enhancement of Diplomatic Function submitted in December 1991, an organizational reform was carried out in August 1993 centering on the creation of the Foreign Policy Bureau and the Intelligence and Analysis Bureau.
The Foreign Policy Bureau is an enlarged and reorganized form of the United Nations Bureau to consolidate the functions regarding the planning and coordination of comprehensive or medium-/long-term foreign policies, and it is to be the nucleus of the Ministry during crucial emergencies like the Gulf Crisis. In the Foreign Policy Bureau, the post of Director General for Arms Control and Scientific Affairs was created to deal with the works related to cooperation on science, technology and nuclear energy as well as the work on arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation that is expected to become increasingly important. In addition, the Multilateral Cooperation Department was set up within the Bureau to deal with U.N. administration and international cooperation in the field of human rights, refugees, the environment, drugs, etc.
The Information Analysis, Research and Planning Bureau was reorganized into the Intelligence and Analysis Bureau, which specializes in information and analysis, in order to strengthen and improve the intelligence function of the Ministry. The reorganized Bureau plans and formulates a comprehensive policy on how the Ministry as a whole collects, analyzes, manages and provides information. The analysis system has also been further improved: to meet the increasingly complex and volatile international situation, the functions of regional analysis and item-wise analysis such as analysis of security situations are being strengthened.
As for the Ministry's overseas establishments, the embassy in the former Czechoslovakia was transformed into the embassy in the Czech Republic in response to the separation of the former Czechoslovakia into two independent states, the Czech Republic and Slovakia. In order to respond appropriately to the dramatic changes taking place as a result of the dissolution of the Soviet Union, consulates-general were opened in Vladivostok and Khabarovsk, while the consulate-general in Nakhodka was closed. As a result, the total number of overseas establishments of the Government of Japan at the end of 1993 was 181, of which 110 are embassies, 63 consulates-general, 2 consulate offices and 6 permanent representative offices.
Regarding the increase of personnel, which is essential in strengthening the diplomatic functions, the Ministry has tackled this problem seriously, placing priority on strengthening the function of gathering and analyzing information, improving its crisis management system including protection of Japanese citizens abroad, enhancing international contributions, and tackling the problems related to foreign residents in Japan. As a result, the Ministry increased, despite constraints in budget and personnel, its total staff in FY 1993 by 140, of which 40 are at the headquarters and 100 in overseas establishments.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in response to the aforementioned report of the Advisory Group, has been implementing the required reform in recruitment and training of personnel, while ensuring an increase in its staff members. It is necessary for the Ministry to continue efforts to strengthen its functions, through realization of the recommendations of the Advisory Group so that the Ministry can respond swiftly and appropriately to the future developments in international affairs.
In the budgetary aspect, despite the budget constraints, the Ministry embarked on firm efforts to expand its budget mainly in the following two areas: (1) strengthening Japan's diplomatic functions (improving the headquarters organization, strengthening of overseas establishments, including improvement of their crisis management system and enhancement of measures to protect Japanese citizens abroad, and strengthening of intelligence functions) and (2) the expansion and improvement of Japan's international contribution measures (expansion of ODA, cooperation toward peace, strengthening international cultural exchanges and solving global-scale problems). As a result, the budget increased to 664.1 billion yen, a 6.9 percent (or 42.6 billion yen) rise from the previous fiscal year.
2. Consular Functions
(1) Increase in the Number of Japanese Tourists and Protection of Japanese Abroad
About 11.79 million Japanese traveled abroad in 1992, although the number increased only slightly in the latter half of the year because of the sluggish economy. The number of Japanese nationals staying abroad for more than three months (long-term residents excluding permanent residents) had sharply increased by around 10 percent annually over the past years, but the increase rate dropped to 3.1 percent in 1992. Although the growth rate dropped dramatically, the total number exceeded 425,000 as of October 1992.
In these circumstances, Japanese nationals continue to fall victim to crime and accidents. Especially, in recent years, cases of their falling victim to violent crimes are increasing. Moreover, in the persistently unstable world situation, there is increasing danger of their getting involved in emergency situations such as conflicts and disorders.
In such situations, the Government of Japan recognizes that securing the protection and safety of Japanese nationals overseas is an important responsibility. The Government actively promoted discussions between its overseas establishments and local Japanese communities, particularly in the developing countries, concerning security measures such as communications systems and emergency measures. These discussions were carried out through the consultative meeting on security measures established in 1992.
The Ministry has also been actively holding in Japan the "Conference for Public and Private Sector Cooperation on Security for Japanese Nationals Overseas" since 1992 with private corporations and organizations. In November 1993 the Ministry started the Overseas Security Information Fax Service, and in December held, for the first time, the Week for Overseas Security Measures.
In addition, the Government is making efforts to strengthen the consular functions in a unified manner by training consulate experts and consolidating the structure so as to maximize the accumulated know-how on consular affairs.
(2) Foreigners in Japan
Long-term foreign residents in Japan are increasing annually, and at the end of 1992, the registered foreigners numbered 1.28 million, exceeding 1 percent of the Japanese population for the first time. As a result, various problems involving foreigners are becoming more significant.
In particular, foreigners from developing countries seeking jobs in Japan have been increasing in recent years, due to a serious labor shortage in Japan, primarily in smaller companies, and to the inability of developing countries, particularly in the Asian region, to fully absorb the growing labor force with their economic activity.
Japan intends to expand the entry of foreigners with special technical skills or knowledge to work in the country. On the other hand, regarding the entry of foreigners to be engaged in unskilled labor, Japan presently does not allow their entry and will make careful consideration on this issue, in view of the lack of consensus among the Japanese public and the insufficiency of domestic social systems.
However, foreigners staying in violation of the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act (the Immigration Act) are increasing. They are estimated to be about 300,000 as of May 1, 1993, and most of them are said to be illegally engaged in unskilled labor. These illegal workers tend to work under poor labor conditions and with little protection of social security, which in some cases raises human rights questions; they are sometimes refused emergency medical treatment because they are not covered by public medical insurance. If this situation continues, it could undermine the image of Japan in the home countries of these foreigners and could cause international criticism. We urgently need not only to control illegal workers and unscrupulous job brokers, but also to establish a social system where foreigners can live safely, securing specific measures to protect human rights such as emergency medical treatment.
Transferring technology to and fostering human resources in developing countries are effective in turning the outgoing labor force to their domestic industrial activities. In this context, the Technical Intern Training Program was established in April 1993, as an expansion of the traditional training system. The program enables qualified foreign trainees to acquire more practical skills in an actual employment relationship.
3. Diplomacy and Public Opinion
Because Japan is being expected to further contribute to international efforts toward peace and stability, there are various discussions within Japan on its role in the international community. Now that foreign and domestic policies have become increasingly inseparable, and that the number of Japanese tourists abroad and foreigners in Japan are increasing, the public interest in developments in the international community and Japan's foreign policy is growing. Through various debates on the Gulf Crisis from 1990 to 1991, and through Japan's participation in the Peace-keeping Operations in Cambodia and Mozambique, there is a growing recognition among the Japanese public in all spectra that Japan ought to take on a larger responsibility and make a larger contribution in the international community.
The public opinion survey on Japan's foreign relations shows that the ratio of those believing that, "Japan , which has become a major country, has the responsibility toward the international community to promote its own internationalization" has an upward tendency, increasing from 43.1 percent in 1989 to 45.7 percent in 1993. This indicates the growing recognition of the public that Japan must make a larger international contribution. On the point of "what kind of role Japan ought to play in the international community specifically," those who cited "Contribution to solving global problems," and "Contribution to international peace, including arbitration of regional conflicts" reached 48.4 percent and 28.8 percent respectively in 1993, a notable rise from the 34.6 percent and 12.9 percent respectively recorded in 1989. In addition, in the 1993 survey, those who cited "International efforts to safeguard universal values," "Contribution to sound development of the world economy,""Cooperation for development of developing countries," and "Contribution in international cultural exchanges" were 26.1 percent, 28.9 percent, 21.0 percent and 9.0 percent respectively. It is important to strengthen diplomatic functions so that these opinions can be reflected in foreign policies, as well as to further promote the public understanding of Japan's diplomatic activities.
While expectations are growing in the international community that Japan should play a role commensurate with its standing, unfounded criticisms regarding Japan are still seen. It is increasingly important for Japan to promote better understanding by foreign countries of Japan's international cooperation as well as its vision in constructing a new international framework. Toward this end, the Government of Japan is strengthening its policy-related public relations activity in foreign countries and is making efforts to improve its system to provide information.
Back to Index