Diplomatic Bluebook 2001
Chapter II. JAPAN'S FOREIGN POLICY IN MAJOR DIPLOMATIC FIELDS
SECTION 5. INTERNATIONAL EXCHANGE AND PUBLIC RELATIONS ACTIVITIES
B. Domestic Public Opinion and Public Relations Activities, and Promoting Understanding of Japan in Other Countries
Henceforth, for Japan to play its part in the international community in appropriately addressing the many challenging issues the world faces, it is essential for the government of Japan to engage in wide-ranging exchanges of opinions with the Japanese people to obtain their support and to develop foreign policies together with the public.
The interest of the Japanese people has grown in recent years in international affairs and Japan's foreign policies with the rapid development of the Internet and other information networks and the advanced globalization of regional communities. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is expanding its public relations' activities to fulfill its responsibility to be accountable for its foreign policies to the Japanese people and to gain their increased understanding and support.
The Internet Website*2 of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs provides direct access to information concerning international affairs and Japan's foreign policies. The Website provides wide-ranging information including daily press releases; information on main diplomatic events, including overseas trips by the Prime Minister and the Minister for Foreign Affairs; overseas travel information; and brief introductions of foreign countries. The Website was upgraded last October, and now includes a newsletter service whereby interested parties can register to receive a daily e-mail digest of all additions to the Website's "What's New" listings. Moreover, taking advantage of the Internet's interactive properties, a "Q&A" page was added last November whereby viewers can submit their opinions regarding Japan's foreign policies.
The Ministry cooperates with the editorial work of compiling regular publications, issues pamphlets, and produces television programs to facilitate public understanding on the foreign policy issues that are of particularly high interest to the public.
The Ministry also holds lectures and symposia in various regions of Japan through the "Gateway to Foreign Affairs," "Seminar on Foreign Affairs," and "International Forum" programs to promote direct dialogue between the people and Ministry officials. To help promote the understanding of the younger generation regarding international affairs, the Ministry hosts visits by student groups to the Ministry and organizes lectures by Ministry officials at high schools and universities nationwide.
To advance Japan's foreign policies, it is essential to promote an accurate understanding of Japan in general and of Japanese government policies among people in other countries, and to gain their trust and goodwill. The efforts by the government to introduce its policies and the country and to promote better understanding about Japan in other countries include implementing various PR events through its embassies, consulates-general, and other diplomatic missions; providing information to the foreign media; inviting opinion leaders and media representatives to Japan; as well as making the best use of multimedia tools such as the Internet.
In implementing PR activities, the government of Japan carefully considers the information to provide and the most effective media to disseminate this information in accordance with the specific circumstances of each region, such as the level and the area of interest in Japan as well as the depth of understanding about it. To these ends, the government of Japan conducts public opinion surveys in major countries and analyzes the results to more accurately grasp the awareness of Japan in those countries.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs organizes lectures and symposia at its embassies, consulates-general, and other diplomatic missions to introduce information not only on Japan's politics, economy, and diplomacy, but also concerning Japanese arts and culture. Considering intellectual exchange to be particularly important, the Ministry places special emphasis on dispatching Japanese intellectuals and scholars to present lectures. The Ministry also places particular emphasis on promoting understanding about Japan among young generations in other countries.
With regard to Japan's provision of information to the foreign media, the government of Japan supplies relevant information to foreign correspondents based in Tokyo, and provides wide-ranging information when Japanese government leaders travel abroad and foreign dignitaries visit Japan. The government of Japan issues counterarguments when reports based on misperceptions or biases regarding Japan are published by the foreign media. The government strives to introduce various aspects of the country by inviting foreign opinion leaders and prominent journalists to Japan, as well as supporting foreign television companies to produce TV programs in Japan and broadcast such programs overseas.
Introducing Japan by the Internet is another important area of Japan's overseas public relations activities. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs Website provides information about Japan's diplomatic policies in English.*3 Chinese and Korean versions were added from 2000. Web Japan Website,*4 which introduces general information about Japan, is a part of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' efforts to increase understanding of Japan in other countries. Many of Japan's overseas diplomatic missions provide information that is of interest to local residents in the local languages through their own Websites. Additionally, the Ministry utilizes broadcast satellites to transmit public relations programs in the Asia-Pacific and North American regions. Producing and distributing a wide variety of printed materials, videos, and photographs are an essential part of its overseas public relations activities.
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