Diplomatic Bluebook 2014 Summary

Chapter 4

Japan’s Diplomacy Open to the Public

2. Supporting Japanese Nationals Overseas

In 2012, approximately 18.49 million Japanese nationals traveled abroad, while there were approximately 1.25 million Japanese nationals overseas as of October 2012. Thus, there have been greater and more diverse risks of Japanese nationals being involved in incidents or accidents, or facing natural disasters or riots abroad. Protecting the lives and safety of Japanese nationals and enhancing their interests is one of the important missions of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs provides Japanese nationals with timely information on incidents and accidents including terrorism or kidnapping, wars, conflicts, natural disasters, and infectious disease, while encouraging them to take necessary safety measures. The Ministry also seeks to strengthen its capability and measures so that it can offer as much assistance as possible to Japanese nationals who have strayed into danger.

Furthermore, with lessons learned from the January 2013 terrorist attack in Algeria, in which Japanese nationals were among the victims, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is undertaking various initiatives aimed at enhancing measures to ensure the safety of Japanese nationals and Japanese companies based overseas.

In May 2013, the Diet approved the Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (the Hague Convention). In this regard, the Ministry is improving consultation systems at diplomatic missions overseas and taking other steps to make it easier for Japanese nationals overseas to seek assistance if they are facing problems such as divorce proceedings or domestic violence.

Japanese embassies and consulates-general provide Japanese nationals overseas with essential administrative services such as issuing passports and various types of certificates, as well as accepting notifications concerning nationality and family registers, and handling overseas voting. In addition, Japanese overseas establishments support the daily lives of Japanese nationals living abroad through such activities as providing assistance to local Japanese schools and supplementary schools. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs also assists Japanese immigrants and Japanese descent, who have contributed to the development of closer bilateral relations of Japan and their respective countries as “bridges” between them. Furthermore, the Ministry endeavors to make additional improvements to consular services, which play an important role in protecting the safety of Japanese nationals and enhancing their interests. To this end, our initiatives include nurturing experts in consular affairs, improving trainings focused on building up know- how in the field of consular administration, introducing advanced IT solutions, strengthening networks for public–private cooperation, and outsourcing some operations.