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Assisting Japanese Citizens and Companies Overseas

Today, with approximately 1.11 million Japanese nationals living abroad and the number of Japanese citizens traveling overseas exceeding 15.9 million annually, Japanese people are playing active roles in a variety of fields and regions of the international community. These trends in turn have increased chances for Japanese nationals to encounter various risks and dangers overseas. Understanding that it is an important mission of the government to effectively protect the lives and properties of Japanese nationals, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs provides assistance and carries out measures to ensure that Japanese nationals can live and/or travel in foreign countries with a sense of security.

The Ministry analyzes and provides various information concerning terrorism and kidnappings, incidents and accidents, infectious diseases hitting ever wider areas including the H1N1 and H5N1 influenza, natural disasters, and more. By doing so, the Ministry raises risk management awareness among Japanese nationals and encourages each of them to take safety measures at his or her own initiative. Meanwhile, the Ministry continues to strengthen and develop relevant assistance systems and infrastructures in order to provide effective assistance if any Japanese national gets involved in any risks or dangers. Moreover, in addition to issuing passports and certificates, holding overseas elections and providing other fundamental administrative services, the Ministry supports the basics of the daily lives of Japanese citizens residing overseas by assisting Japanese schools and supplementary schools and by providing medical and healthcare-related information.

The Ministry also recognizes the importance of Japanese immigrants and their descendants who have long contributed to political and economic development of their countries of residence and helped strengthen bilateral ties as �bridges� between Japan and those countries. Understanding that their presence is an important asset in Japanese diplomacy, the Ministry continues to support Japanese immigrants and their descendants and maintains cooperation with them in many aspects.

In recent years of increasing globalization, it is extremely important for Japanese companies and individuals to be more competitive and proactive in oversea markets in carrying out their economic activities. It is one of the major tasks of the Ministry to provide support to Japanese companies so that they can actively operate overseas. Specifically, the Ministry broadly listens to Japanese businesses� views concerning issues facing them and responds to inquires and requests from them. The Ministry also holds dialogues and discussions with various countries on regulatory reforms and improvement of business environment improvement, and requests those countries/regions to make concrete improvements.

Moreover, with the aim of improving the investment environment and reducing financial burdens for Japanese companies and citizens extending their operations overseas, the Ministry establishes legal and institutional infrastructures by concluding tax treaties, investment agreements and social security agreements, and pursues more effective use and implementation of EPAs.

Furthermore, as Japan is committed to become an �intellectual property-based nation�, the Ministry endeavors to enhance the protection of the intellectual property rights of Japanese companies by, for example, working on foreign governments in bilateral and multilateral consultations.

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