Diplomatic Bluebook 2016

Chapter 4

Japan’s Diplomacy Open to the Public

Section 1 Japanese Society and People Deepening Their Ties with the World


(Tapping the Power of Foreign Nationals for the Growth of Japan)

Increasing the number of people traveling between Japan and other countries stimulates the economy and promotes mutual understanding among different cultures. Based on this view, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) takes steps to facilitate the entry of foreign nationals into Japan and also their stay in the country.

The Government of Japan attaches importance to promoting Japan as a tourism-oriented country and to regional revitalization inside Japan, and MOFA has engaged in efforts to relax visa requirements. With the continuous trend of yen depreciation and various other factors, the number of foreign visitors to Japan reached around 19.74 million in 2015. The target of 20 million in 2020 may be achieved earlier than anticipated. MOFA strives to contribute to the increase of foreign visitors while continuing to ensure that “Japan remains the safest country in the world,” and to a tourism-oriented country both in quantity and quality by attracting the wealthy class, repeaters, and the young generation.

In order to further vitalize the Japanese economy and increase Japan’s competitive-ness, it is critical to secure capable human resources irrespective of their nationality. In the “Japan Revitalization Strategy (revised in 2015),” a policy is set forth whereby the government promotes further participation of foreign human resources. To reach such target, MOFA works with relevant ministries and agencies to ensure the system and measures for accepting foreign human resources to be effective and in line with the principle of human rights. Moreover, MOFA encourages national debate on the challenges arising from the acceptance of foreign nationals and their integration into Japanese society, as well as appropriate measures to be taken.

(International Organizations and Japanese Nationals)

At international organizations, staff from all over the world capitalizes on their respective skills and traits to carry out activities for addressing global issues.

Japan has been providing personnel contributions as well as financial and intellectual contributions to international organizations. If more Japanese nationals play active roles in international organizations, Japan’s presence in the international community will be enhanced and the human resources of Japan will also be enriched.

MOFA carries out programs to recruit, train, support, and provide information to competent Japanese nationals who can play active roles in international organizations and contribute to them. The year 2016 marks the 60th anniversary of Japan’s accession to the UN. Seizing this opportunity, MOFA will strengthen its efforts to create an environment where outstanding Japanese nationals can play active roles on the global stage.

(NGOs and Volunteers)

The Government of Japan has promoted All-Japan diplomacy which draws on the strengths of non-governmental actors. In this context, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have become even more important in recent years as implementers of support activities in developing countries and as channels for offering policy proposals. Japanese NGOs play a significant role in fields that Japan excels in and can make international contributions to, such as health, water and sanitation, education, disaster risk reduction, environment and climate change, and emergency humanitarian assistance for refugees and disaster victims. MOFA regards NGOs as important partners in development cooperation, and strives to strengthen partnerships with NGOs through financial assistance, improving their operational environment, and policy dialogue.

Participants in the volunteer programs of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), including the Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers (JOCV) and Senior Volunteers (SV), are crucial actors in international cooperation. In the countries and regions where they are dispatched, JICA volunteers see the development challenges from the same perspective as local people and work hard together to tackle them. Such programs are highly appreciated by local people including government officials in various countries and earn their gratitude, as symbols of the “Visibility of Japanese Aid.” In addition, the programs play a substantial role not only in local economic and social development, but also in fostering mutual understanding, friendship, and goodwill between Japan and these countries and regions. Furthermore, these programs are also significant from the viewpoint that JICA volunteers bring back their volunteer experiences to help contribute to Japanese society in the end. The volunteers use their volunteer experience and stay active at home and abroad upon their return.

(Cooperation with Local Governments)

Regional revitalization is one of top priority tasks for the cabinet. MOFA is implementing all-ministry initiatives to promote regional revitalization in collaboration with local governments. At home, MOFA, jointly with municipalities, carried out “Regional Promotion Seminars,” “Diplomats’ Study Tours,” etc., to showcase regions’ attractiveness for the diplomatic corps in Tokyo and started a new project to support regional revitalization, using Iikura Guest House, the Ministry’s facility. As measures to support Japan’s local governments in promoting their attractiveness and in developing local industries and regional economies, “Regional Promotion Projects” have been conducted, using Japan’s diplomatic facilities overseas. Moreover, MOFA conducted promotional activities with local governments through local promotion projects in Asia, which were launched in 2015 to assist in recovering reputational damages caused by the Great East Japan Earthquake. In addition, MOFA actively promoted alcohol beverages produced in various regions of Japan at its overseas missions and supported overseas operations of local governments and local SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) by making use of ODA.