Diplomatic Bluebook 2001

A. Japan's Diplomatic Structure

1. Strengthening Japan's Diplomatic Structure

As the globalization of the international community and the consequent interdependency among countries intensify, the importance of diplomacy is greatly increasing, and the volume of related work continues to rise.

There are now approximately 800,000 Japanese nationals living abroad, and more than 16 million Japanese travel to foreign countries each year. Thus, the consular works conducted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, including the protection of Japanese nationals overseas, are continuing to expand and to become more diverse. (For example, the number of Japanese traveling abroad in 1998 was about 1.5 times the 1990 level.)

Various international initiatives are being taken to secure peace and prosperity in the international community as a whole in the 21st century. It is incumbent upon Japan to continue actively participating in such efforts and to fulfill a role that befits the nation's international status.

In order to respond more actively and promptly to these diplomatic needs, which are expanding both quantitatively and qualitatively and becoming more complex, it is essential to improve and strengthen Japan's diplomatic administrative structure. Specifically, while moving forward with administrative reforms, the number of staff working at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which is still insufficient compared with the diplomatic staffing levels of other developed countries, needs to be increased. (While exact comparisons are difficult, the number of Japanese diplomatic staff is about one-fourth of that in the United States and lower than that in France, Germany, and the United Kingdom.) Furthermore, efforts must be advanced to improve Japan's diplomatic organizations, to reinforce the functions of Japanese diplomatic missions abroad, and to expedite the adoption of information technologies.

2. Administrative Reform

Efforts are undertaken across the government to realize a new administrative structure and system. The Diet passed the Basic Law on the Administrative Reform of the Central Government in July 1999. Following the enactment of the law, in May 2000 organizational guidelines and other related orders were issued for the new government administrative structure, and the necessary adjustments were made at all the concerned ministries and agencies. The new government structure comprised of the Cabinet Office and 12 ministries and agencies was initiated from January 6, 2001. In conjunction with this reorganization, new posts were created at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (two Senior Vice-Ministers for Foreign Affairs and three Parliamentary Secretaries for Foreign Affairs), and the Asian Affairs Bureau and the European and Oceanic Affairs Bureau were restructured into the Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau and the European Affairs Bureau (an Oceania Division was established within the Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau).*1 Additionally, various measures were adopted to ensure consistent official development assistance (ODA) planning and implementation throughout the entire government. (Refer to Chapter II, Section 3 for details).

In December, the Administrative Reform Guideline was issued by the Cabinet toward implementing administrative reforms covering a wider range of items. The Guideline includes directives to fundamentally reform the works and organizational structures of Special Purpose Corporations, to revise the public servant personnel system and the government's involvement with public interest corporations, to implement regulatory reforms, and to realize electronic government. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs will undertake necessary revision as stipulated by the Guideline, and steadily implement the measures required.

3. Efforts Regarding Diplomatic Organizations, Staffing, and Budgeting

In accordance with the above mentioned requirements, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs carried out the following measures during FY 2000 to address the issues of diplomatic organizations, staffing, and budgeting, toward reinforcing Japan's diplomatic structure.

To begin with, the Ministry worked to achieve a more finely detailed approach to regional diplomacy. For Africa, which requires enhanced Japanese involvement, the Ministry decided to establish a new post, the Director-General for Sub-Saharan African Affairs in FY 2001. Meanwhile, because the number of cases submitted to the World Trade Organization (WTO) dispute settlement procedures is increasing, including the number of disputes to which Japan is a concerned party and for which dispute settlement panels are formed, the Ministry also established a new WTO Dispute Settlement Division. Turning to overseas diplomatic missions, considering the importance of Sakhalin within the Russian Federation, the Ministry decided to open a new Consulate-General of Japan in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, bringing the total number of Japan's overseas diplomatic and consular establishments as of the end of FY 2000 to 187: 115 embassies, 66 consulates-general, and six permanent missions or delegations.

As for staffing issues, the Ministry places priority on strengthening the country's crisis-management and security systems, which is an urgent matter for the government. Despite strict budgetary limitations, the Ministry increased its personnel by 55 during FY 2000: 35 at the Ministry itself and 20 at overseas diplomatic and consular establishments. This brought the total number of Ministry staff to 5,289 (2,065 at the Ministry itself and 3,224 at overseas diplomatic and consular establishments). While increasing personnel, the Ministry has implemented efforts to utilize its staff more effectively and to rationalize administrative and clerical work.

With regard to budgetary allocations, despite the harsh national fiscal conditions, the initial budget of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for FY 2000 was increased by 1.9 percent (14.2 billion yen) over the previous year to 773.7 billion yen. This increase was mostly due to two extraordinary factors: the holding of the G8 Kyushu-Okinawa Summit and the initiation of voting by Japanese nationals residing abroad. The Ministry emphasized the following two main pillars in its budgetary allocations.

  • Improving and strengthening diplomatic policies (smooth implementation of the G8 Kyushu-Okinawa Summit; promoting peace, security, and human security; advancing policy measures for the Russian Federation; advancing bilateral assistance; and promoting international cultural exchange).
  • Strengthening Japan's diplomatic structure (increasing personnel; rein-forcing diplomatic organizations; strengthening the functions of overseas diplomatic and consular establishments, including enhancing crisis-management systems and ensuring the safety of Japanese nationals living abroad; upgrading the information and telecommunications networks linking the Ministry with its overseas diplomatic missions; and implementing a balloting system for Japanese nationals overseas).

4. Advancing the Adoption of Information Technologies

With regard to the enhancement of information management, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has established a local area network (LAN),*2 which connects the Ministry and Japan's overseas diplomatic missions. While ensuring proper security, the LAN will be expanded so that it can be accessed from all overseas diplomatic and consular establishments. Meanwhile, the Ministry's Internet Website will be improved and expanded. The Ministry will continue working, in a comprehensive and systematic manner, to advance the information management of its administrative functions in order to reinforce its information processing capabilities and to improve its administrative services for Japanese nationals and others.

5. Crisis-Management System

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is making every possible effort to improve its crisis-management system to facilitate an appropriate and fully coordinated response together with its overseas diplomatic missions in the event of emergency situations overseas that may threaten the lives of a large number of Japanese nationals, such as natural disasters, large-scale accidents, hijacking and terrorist incidents, kidnappings, civil unrest, coups d'état, riots, and wars.

To begin with, the Ministry is striving to identify, as early as possible, situations where emergency situations may arise by its daily information collection and analysis works, and to issue travel advisories and warnings as necessary to prevent Japanese nationals from being caught up in crises. The Ministry is also making all possible preparations to respond effectively in the event of an actual emergency. In such cases, as initial measures the Ministry will strive to confirm the safety of Japanese nationals, to promptly contact all related parties, and to collect and analyze new information. Additionally, as necessary, the Ministry will establish countermeasures headquarters at the Ministry itself and at its overseas diplomatic missions in order to implement crisis management 24 hours per day; grasp, collect and analyze information; secure means for the evacuation of Japanese nationals; and request the assistance of the countries concerned. To these ends, the Ministry is allocating the budget, personnel, equipment, and supplies required for such an emergency response on a regular basis.

6. Information Disclosure

Ever since 1976, the Ministry has voluntarily released to the public all postwar diplomatic documents that are at least 30 years old, and these are available for public viewing at the Diplomatic Record Office of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Ministry intends to further enhance this system whereby all the documents related to individual items are voluntarily released to the public all at once.

The Law Concerning Access to Information Held by Administrative Organs was passed by the Diet in 1999 and will come into force from April 2001. The law aims at promoting fair and democratic administration through accurate understanding and proper criticism by the people. In accordance with this law, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will fulfill its responsibility to account for its activities to the public and will work toward the further disclosure of information, while giving proper consideration to Japan's national security interests, trustful relations with others, and interests in diplomatic negotiations.

7. Establishment of the NGO Liaison Center

The recent wave of globalization is bringing about major changes in the traditional international relations framework, which is based on interactions among individual nation-states. In today's world, national borders are becoming less significant, the transfer of people, goods, services, capital, and information is accelerating, and citizens are engaging in active cross-border exchanges. Given these developments, governments are now requested to strengthen their ties with non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and other civil society institutions.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has long worked to develop and maintain relationships with NGOs in such diverse fields as development cooperation, emergency humanitarian assistance, the environment, trade, human rights, conflict prevention, disarmament, and non-proliferation. Especially in the area of assistance to developing countries, the government is implementing various assistance projects for NGO activities as part of its economic cooperation policy.

The Ministry will continue these efforts toward deepening the dialogue and reinforcing the ties that link the government with NGOs. Based on the recognition that the initiatives of NGOs and other civil society institutions will play an increasingly important role in the international community in the 21st century, and that it is very important for the government to build up constructive ties with such citizens groups, the Ministry established an NGO Liaison Center within its Domestic Public Relations Division in October 2000. This new Center will primarily assist NGOs that contact the Ministry for the first time by providing information and responding to their requests taking into account the cooperative relations that the concerned units within the Ministry have built up over time with the NGOs. Establishing this contact point for relating with NGOs is expected to deepen the dialogue between the entire Ministry and NGOs and also to reinforce the ties linking the Ministry with civil society.

8. Strengthening the Ministry's Functions and Reform Issues

In January 2001, an incident involving a former Director of the Ministry's Overseas Visit Support Division, Katsutoshi Matsuo, was revealed, and on March 10, 2001 Matsuo was arrested by the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department on suspicion of fraud. It is most regrettable that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs betrayed the trust of the Japanese people through this incident. The Ministry feels deeply repentant for violating public trust, and extends its most sincere apologies to the Japanese people.

Reviewing the details, on January 4, 2001, Minister for Foreign Affairs Kono established an investigative committee led by the Deputy Vice-Minister, and this committee conducted intensive investigations within the Ministry, primarily through voluntary questioning of the former Director of the Overseas Visit Support Division and related parties and thorough checks of the accounting documents. As far as possible, the former Director's assets were also examined. As a result, it was discovered that during his tenure as the Director (October 10, 1993-August 16, 1999) Matsuo handled 46 overseas trips by prime ministers and their retainers, and there were clear grounds to suspect that the former Director diverted public funds for his private use. Accordingly, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs released the investigative committee's findings on January 25. On that same day, the former Director was dishonorably discharged from public service, and the Ministry submitted indictment to the Metropolitan Police Department. Following police investigations, the former Director was arrested on suspicion of fraud on March 10, and was formally indicted by the Tokyo Public Prosecutors' Office on March 30. On April 4, the former Director was re-arrested on additional charges.

For nearly six years from October 1993, the former Director was solely handling all travel funds related to overseas trips by prime ministers and their retainers-from preparing budget estimates through to expense payments and the final settlement of accounts-without his superior's approval. Checks against his acts were insufficient. The background to this systemic flaw included the fact that although organizationally the Overseas Visit Support Division fell under the General Affairs Division of the Minister's Secretariat, the actual implementation of the Overseas Visit Support Division's works took place in close coordination with various units primarily responsible for overseas visits by the prime minister. Thus, there was insufficient awareness that all supervisory authority over the Overseas Visit Support Division rested with the Director of the General Affairs Division of the Minister's Secretariat. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is keenly aware of its responsibility for not having prevented this incident. From this point of view, the Ministry has imposed salary reductions and other punishments on these superiors of the former Director from the time he was appointed. Additionally, when the incident came to light, the Administrative Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Deputy Vice-Minister, and the Director of the General Affairs Division of the Minister's Secretariat were all subjected to punishments.

Because there are limits to the investigations conducted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs since it does not have compulsory investigative authority, the Ministry judged that the best approach was to identify the facts related to the diversion of public funds as far as possible within its restricted abilities, file charges as quickly as possible, and turn the investigation over to the law enforcement authorities. The former Director was charged on January 25, the same date that the investigative committee's report was released. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs by no means asserts that this report elucidates the entire incident. Rather, after the indictment of the former Director, the Ministry has extended every possible cooperation to the law enforcement authorities to ensure that all the details will be revealed at the earliest possible date.

The investigative committee continued working under the direction of Senior Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Kiyohiro Araki to further clarify the facts, based on the report's findings, beginning from the systemic problems at the Ministry to the related facts of the incident. While the main members of the committee were the Deputy Vice-Minister and the directors in the Minister's Secretariat, the committee also received advice from outside experts (attorneys and certified public accountants), and proceeded with its investigations mostly based on the materials that the Ministry could access and voluntary questioning of the parties concerned. As one specific example, Senior Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Kiyohiro Araki himself questioned former Deputy Vice-Ministers and former directors of the Secretariat's divisions on the systemic problems regarding prime minister's overseas visits. As this incident resulted in media reporting various problems concerning the Ministry, the requisite investigations were conducted regarding these problems, and the findings of these investigations were revealed through discussions in the Diet. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs will continue to conduct investigations, as necessary, regarding any specific problems that may come to light.

Based on the lessons learned from this incident, the entire Ministry of Foreign Affairs is working to fundamentally reinforce the Ministry's functions. When the former Director was arrested on March 10, Minister for Foreign Affairs Yohei Kono issued a statement that reiterated apologies to the public, and explained that the funds supervision system will be strengthened to ensure that Ministry secret funds are used only for essential needs. Specifically, the Minister for Foreign Affairs himself will now determine the basic stance for the use of such funds at the beginning of each fiscal year, and the Deputy Vice-Minister for Foreign Policy will be included in the decision-making process. The inspection system will be reviewed through such measures as increasing the frequency of inspections, utilizing the knowledge of external experts, and introducing unannounced spot inspections.

To prevent the reoccurrence of these types of incidents, Minister Kono announced on February 9 the formation of the Foreign Ministry Reform Council, comprised of knowledgeable private citizens.* This Council is designed as a venue to issue proposals through the free exchange of opinions by members on the fundamental reform of the Ministry's functions. The Council held its first meeting on February 21, and subsequently active discussions have taken place. At the Council's meeting, Senior Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Seishiro Eto attended from the Ministry. The Council held free discussions regarding the Ministry's overall work approach. Minister for Foreign Affairs Kono presented specific issues of interest, namely, (1) recovering the public's trust and enhancing public understanding; (2) organizational and systemic issues; (3) problems with the personnel system and the approach to personnel administration; and (4) the Ministry's checking and auditing systems

On April 24, the Council submitted proposals to Minister for Foreign Affairs Kono. The main recommendations were as follows: (1) diplomacy for the people and diplomacy with the people; (2) efficient and effective diplomatic structure; (3) personnel management reform for powerful diplomacy; and (4) eradication of irregularities and suspicion. Based on the Council's recommendations, the Ministry will draft a reform plan during the month of May, implement the Council's recommendations, and indicate ways to manage secret funds in FY 2001 and later by mid-May, as a first step toward the implementation of new systems.

As explained above, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is extending every possible cooperation to the law enforcement authorities so that the overall picture of the incident becomes clear, and is simultaneously working toward a fundamental reform of the Ministry's functions. Based on the Ministry's deep repentance regarding this incident as well as the Council's recommendations, the Ministry is absolutely determined to implement internal reforms in a wide variety of fields by reaffirming its original purpose, which is the duty of public servants to serve the people, exerting every possible effort for Japan's people, and gaining greater public trust.

* The members of the Foreign Ministry Reform Council are as follows (in Japanese alphabetical order; honorifics omitted):
Sumiko Iwao, Professor, Musashi Institute of Technology
Ei-ichi Kakei, Attorney (former Public Prosecutor General)
Akira Saito, President and CEO, The Mainichi Newspapers (Council Chairman)
Masaji Shinagawa, Advisor, NIPPONKOA Insurance Co., Ltd. (Permanent director of Japan Association of Corporate Executives)
Ayako Sono, Author; Chairperson, The Nippon Foundation
Akihiko Tanaka, Professor, University of Tokyo (Council Vice-Chairman)
Gaishi Hiraiwa, Honorary Chairman, Japan Federation of Economic Organizations (Keidanren).


  1. The main changes at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs accompanying the reorganization of the national government structure may be summarized as follows.
    (1) The two Parliamentary Vice Ministers for Foreign Affairs were replaced by two Senior Vice-Ministers for Foreign Affairs, and three new posts were created for Parliamentary Secretaries for Foreign Affairs.
    (2) The International Press Division was eliminated, and a new post created for the Assistant Press Secretary/Director of the International Press Division.
    (3) In the Cultural Affairs Department, the First Cultural Affairs Division and the Second Cultural Affairs Division were renamed as the Cultural Policy Division and the Exchange of Persons Division.
    (4) The Global Issues Division of the Multilateral Cooperation Department in the Foreign Policy Bureau now specializes in global environmental problems, and has been renamed as the Global Environment Division. Among its former duties in addressing global environmental problems, population issues have been transferred to the United Nations Policy Division as economic issues, and drug abuse issues have been transferred to the Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs Division (formerly, the Human Rights and Refugees Division) as social issues.
    (5) To achieve a more finely detailed approach to regional diplomacy, the Oceania Division (the unit responsible for diplomatic affairs with Australia, New Zealand, etc.), which was formerly part of the European and Oceanic Affairs Bureau, has been moved to the Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau. Meanwhile, the Asian Affairs Bureau and the European and Oceanic Affairs Bureau have been renamed as the Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau and the European Affairs Bureau.
    (6) The Japanese name of the Middle Eastern and African Affairs Bureau has been changed, but the English name remains the same.
    (7) The name of the Overseas Emigration Council was changed to the Overseas Exchange Council, and the Council is now responsible for investigations and deliberations concerning important factors related to international personnel exchanges.
  2. Local area networks (LANs) connect a limited number of computers, such as those within the same office or building, to facilitate the exchange of data, etc. These systems provide various services such as the sharing of electronic mail and computer files.

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