Diplomatic Bluebook 2015
Japan’s Diplomacy Open to the Public
Section 3 Diplomacy with the Support of the Public
Proactive Information Dissemination to the Public
Public understanding and support are indispensable for the smooth implementation of Japan’s foreign policy. As such, providing prompt and clear explanations on the policy details and on the role of government is crucial. Accordingly, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) is committed to enhancing its ability to communicate information, using all forms of media in an agile and effective manner, combining public relations, media relations and cultural and people-to-people exchanges.
Regular press conferences are conducted four days a week by the Minister for Foreign Affairs, the State Ministers for Foreign Affairs, or the Press Secretary, while extraordinary press conferences are held as necessary. MOFA releases statements by the Minister for Foreign Affairs or Press Secretary announcing the stance of the Government of Japan on specific issues, and issues press releases that provide information on MOFA’s activities. In addition, the Minister, State Ministers, and Parliamentary Vice-Ministers explain the Government’s foreign policies directly to the public through appearances on TV and by means of other media. MOFA also assists in facilitating reporting activities of the diplomatic events.
MOFA’s official website swiftly distributes information about diplomatic activities of the Prime Minister and the Foreign Minister, and provides the latest and basic information on Japan’s foreign policy and international affairs. MOFA also uses social media, such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
Furthermore, MOFA organizes speeches by the Minister for Foreign Affairs to promote public relations through dialogue with Japanese nationals and holds various lectures by its officials at international excharge organizations, universities and high schools nationwide to promote understanding of Japan’s foreign policy and the international situation, as well as to cultivate the next generation of Japanese leaders. Moreover, MOFA strives to improve two-way communication with the public through such public consultation initiatives as receiving comments and opinions on its official website.
Declassification of Diplomatic Records
To further enhance the public understanding of and confidence in Japan’s foreign policy, MOFA established the “Committee for the Promotion of Declassification of the Diplomatic Records”. MOFA is actively engaged in transferring records to the Diplomatic Archives and in their declassification. The Ministry also strives to implement the procedure smoothly and swiftly while accelerating the process of declassification.
Enhancing Foreign Policy Implementation Structure
MOFA is continuing its efforts to enhance the comprehensive foreign policy implementation structure, while allocating its limited resources to high priority areas in order to promote flexible diplomacy that can respond appropriately to the changes in both domestic and international situations.
With regard to Japanese diplomatic missions overseas, MOFA established the Embassy of Japan in Iceland in January 2014 and the Embassies of Japan in Marshall Islands, Armenia, and Namibia in January 2015. However, the number of Japanese diplomatic missions overseas remains fewer than those of other major countries. MOFA is therefore committed to improving this situation strategically. Also, the number of staff members of MOFA is relatively small compared to that of other major countries. In order to better respond to the complex diplomatic challenges and make international contributions comparable to other major countries, MOFA continues to make every effort to increase the number of staff members. In FY2015 and beyond, MOFA will continuously make efforts to ensure competitive foreign policy implementation structure that is comparable to that of other major countries, while further streamlining. Under a fluid international situation, in the 2014 budget, MOFA allocated 666.1 billion yen to support the above-described foreign policy implementation structure, and to (1) ensure/promote national interests reflecting the changes in the strategic environment in the Asia-Pacific region and (2) realize the “Promotion of Grobal Interests” through contributions to global issues.
Role of Intellectuals in Diplomacy
As is referred to in the National Security Strategy, expanding the intellectual base on Japan’s diplomacy and security and promoting diplomacy that involves a broad range of people will lead to strengthening Japan’s diplomatic power in the middle- to long-term. Therefore, MOFA will deepen exchanges with think tanks in the diplomacy and security fields, strengthen their development and reinforce supports, and actively make use of the insights of private sector intellectuals.