Administrative Structures of Japan's Diplomacy
A. Structures for diplomatic functions
a) The need to enhance Ministry structures
As international society deepens interdependency, diplomatic activities are becoming much more important and the volume of work related to such activities has been steadily expanding.
The consular services operations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, including the protection of Japanese nationals abroad, are continuing to expand, as approximately 800,000 Japanese reside overseas and approximately 15 million Japanese nationals travel abroad every year. For example, the number of Japanese traveling abroad rose by 1.4 times over 1990 figures.
In addition, it is incumbent upon Japan to perform a role that befits its status in a variety of international activities aiming to usher in global peace and prosperity in a new era.
In order to respond more actively and promptly to the needs of Japanese diplomacy, which has been expanding and increasing intricacy both in quality and quantity, it is incumbent upon the Government to improve and strengthen the structures implementing diplomatic initiatives. Specifically, there is a need to make efforts to enhance Ministry structures to strengthen the functions of Japan's overseas diplomatic and consular establishments, inter alia by increasing the number of Foreign Ministry staff, which still remains at a lower level compared to other developed countries, and to expeditiously implement further promotion of e-government. Although exact comparisons are difficult, the number of Japanese Foreign Ministry staff is approximately one quarter that of the United States and at a lower level than France, Germany and the United Kingdom.
b) Administrative reform
In July 1999, bills concerning the reform of the central ministries and agencies, the laws to establish the Cabinet Office and twelve Ministries and Agencies and their related legislation to be inaugurated in January 2001, were enacted. In accordance with the Basic Law on the Administrative Reform of the Central Government, formulated in June 1998, it was decided that from January 2001 the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will, in addition to its present functions, assume the central role in the coordination among the relevant administrative organizations on official development assistance (ODA) policy, and will conduct monitoring relating to overseas economic cooperation programs implemented by the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC).
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is working to ensure that policies stipulated in the Basic Law on the Administrative Reform of the Central Government can be materialized, including enhancing and strengthening functions for the formulation of comprehensive foreign policy, and for information gathering, analyzing and reporting, and promoting more elaborate and focused foreign policy for specific regions.
c) Efforts for organizational, personnel and budgetary reform
In recognition of the above-mentioned requirements, the Ministry took the following steps throughout FY1999 to enhance organization, personnel and budgetary allocation with a view to strengthening the structures it needs to implement Japan's foreign policy.
On the organizational side, in response to heightening international awareness of global environmental issues, and in order to strengthen Japan's system for tackling global warming issues, a Climate Change Division has been established in the Ministry. As for overseas diplomatic and consular establishments, embassies have been opened in Azerbaijan and Mozambique. The establishment of the Azerbaijani Embassy was borne out of Japan's recognition of the necessity to exert an influence for the peace and stability of Central Asia and the Caucasus region, and in the international community as a whole, and also in recognition of the importance of development of natural resources in the region. The Embassy in Mozambique was established in consideration of the importance of Japan's support for stability and development in Africa and the strategic position of Mozambique in the development of southern Africa. These additions bring the total number of overseas diplomatic and consular establishments, as of the end of FY1999, to 186: 115 embassies, 65 consulates-general and 6 permanent missions or delegations.
When increasing its personnel, the Foreign Ministry has placed priority on strengthening its crisis-management and security systems, which is an urgent matter for the government. In spite of tight budgetary and recruitment restraints, the Ministry increased its staff by 65 during FY1999: 20 at the Ministry and 45 at overseas diplomatic and consular establishments. This brought staff totals to 5,234: 2,030 at the Ministry itself and 3,204 at overseas establishments. At the same time, the Ministry has made efforts to utilize its staff more effectively and to streamline administration.
With regard to budgetary allocations, although fiscal stringency persists, the original budget for FY1999 increased 1.6% (11.6 billion yen) compared to the previous fiscal year, to 759.5 billion yen. Under these conditions, the Ministry made efforts to allocate the budget dynamically according to the following two-pronged approach:
(1)Strengthening the structures for implementing foreign policy (by increasing personnel; improving organizational structure; strengthening the functions of overseas diplomatic and consular establishments, including enhancing crisis-management systems, ensuring the safety of Japanese nationals abroad and implementing smoothly overseas voting; and strengthening information-related and telecommunications functions, as well as the communication network, between the Ministry and its overseas diplomatic and consular establishments); and
(2)Improving and strengthening diplomatic measures (by promoting bilateral assistance; promoting policy measures toward Russia; cooperating for peace, security and disarmament; and promoting international cultural exchange)
d) Promotion of e-government
In the area of e-government, the Ministry is further promoting the computerization of its administrative functions, with the strengthening of its information supply functions, such as the creation of a system which links the Ministry to diplomatic and consular establishments through an exclusive computer network and the improvement of the Ministry's website. Efforts are also being made to improve information systems as a means of enhancing the Ministry's diplomatic functions and improving its services for Japanese nationals and others.
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