Diplomatic Bluebook 2015
Japan’s Diplomacy Open to the Public
Section 2 Supporting Japanese Nationals Overseas
In 2013, approximately 17.47 million Japanese nationals traveled abroad, while there were approximately 1.26 million Japanese nationals living overseas as of October 2013. As more Japanese nationals travel and live overseas, the risk of Japanese nationals being involved in incidents or accidents, or facing terrorism, riots, or natural disasters abroad has increased. Protecting the lives and safety of Japanese nationals overseas and furthering their interests are one of the important missions of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA).
MOFA provides Japanese nationals with timely information on incidents and accidents including terrorism and kidnapping, wars, conflicts, natural disasters, and infectious diseases abroad. It also encourages them to take necessary safety measures. MOFA takes steps to strengthen its capability and measures to be able to offer as much assistance as possible to Japanese nationals who have strayed into danger. In particular, based on the lessons learned from the January 2013 terrorist attack in Algeria, in which Japanese nationals were among the victims, MOFA has enhanced its measures to ensure the safety of Japanese nationals and Japanese companies overseas. Furthermore, following the terrorist incident regarding the murder of Japanese in Syria from August 2014 to February 2015, the “Task Force on Bolstering Safety Measures for Japanese Nationals Overseas” was established. The Task Force reviews the necessary measures to ensure the safety of Japanese nationals overseas, as well as the steps to realize these measures.
In 2014, Ebola virus disease outbreak had been observed in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone in West Africa. MOFA issued alerts to Japanese nationals traveling and living overseas about traveling to or staying in these countries. It has also provided information regarding the status of the outbreak and measures to prevent infection.
On April 1, 2014, the Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (the Hague Convention) entered into force. MOFA, as the Central Authority for the implementation of the Convention, provides assistance to realize the return of a child who has been wrongfully removed, and/or to realize visitation or contacts with a child across borders.
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, they support the daily lives of Japanese nationals living abroad through such activities as providing assistance to local Japanese Schools and Supplementary Education Schools. MOFA also assists Japanese immigrants and people of Japanese descendant, who have contributed to the development of closer bilateral relations between Japan and their respective countries as “bridges”. Furthermore, the Ministry endeavors to improve consular services, which play an important role in protecting the safety of Japanese nationals and furthering their interests. Efforts to this end include fostering experts in consular affairs, improving trainings, and strengthening networks for public-private cooperation.