Diplomatic Bluebook 2017

Chapter 3

Japan's Foreign Policy to Promote National and Worldwide Interests

1.Strategic Communications

(1) Overview

The Government of Japan has actively communicated Japan's stance and way of thinking on the occasions of daily press conferences, interviews, contributions to the media, and speeches at official visits to foreign countries and international conferences by the Prime Minister, the Foreign Minister, and government officials. The diplomatic missions overseas have actively communicated to the government of the countries appointed, their citizens, and the media on Japan's fundamental stance or views on a range of issues including the recognition of history or maintenance of territorial integrity. When media reports include factual errors, the diplomatic missions overseas, especially ambassadors or consulate general, explain by sending rebuttal pieces based on facts. Japan also actively engages in communications with the public via social media and websites, in addition to creating publicity materials including policy related videos and so forth.

In order to make Japan's fundamental stance on policy issues understood, it is also important to enhance coordinated efforts among the Ministry, experts, and think tanks. Based on this recognition, MOFA has invited influential experts and media personnel from around the world, providing them with opportunities to exchange views with government officials and others, and to visit various places around Japan. Furthermore, Japan has dispatched Japanese experts abroad while bolstering support for holding Japan-related seminars.

Moreover, in order to attract a broader audience, including those who did not have much interest in Japan, the following actions are important: (1) providing information on the diverse attractiveness of Japan through “All-Japan” efforts of the government, private sectors and local governments; (2) promoting outreach that reflects the needs of local communities, utilizing the expertise of experts from both inside and outside Japan; and (3) providing a “one-stop-service” where all information related to Japan can be obtained. With this in mind, communication hubs are to be established in London (UK), Los Angeles (U.S.), and Sao Paulo (Brazil) to implement aforementioned actions.

(2) Reports by Foreign Media on Japan and Communications through Foreign Media

In 2016, when Japan assumed presidency of the G7 summit and co-hosted TICAD VI, the foreign media paid much attention to Japan's security, policies/diplomacy, economics and society, and its contributions to the world. Moreover, active visits by Prime Minister Abe and Foreign Minister Kishida to foreign countries in line with Japan's “diplomacy that takes a panoramic perspective of the world map” captured the further attention of the local and international media.

Amidst increasing interest in Japan, MOFA actively provides timely information and offers assistance with press coverage to foreign media in order to gain understanding and support from the international community about Japan's positions and its activities. MOFA makes efforts to achieve strategic and effective communications by providing information to relevant media outlets at appropriate times.

In terms of communications through foreign media, MOFA regularly conducts press conferences, such as those held by Foreign Minister Kishida, and provides information to correspondents in Japan via press releases and other materials. MOFA arranges interviews, press conferences, and op-ed article contributions to foreign media during overseas visits by Prime Minister Abe and Foreign Minister Kishida, and their participation in international conferences such as ASEAN, APEC and the United Nations General Assembly. In 2016, Prime Minister Abe gave a total of eight interviews and article contributions, and Foreign Minister Kishida gave 12 interviews and article contributions. Prime Minister Abe also conducted four international press conferences during his visits overseas.

On the occasion of the G7 Foreign Ministers' Meeting in Hiroshima held in April 2016, Foreign Minister Kishida contributed articles to CNN (U.S.), Le Figaro (France), and other major media outlets in G7 countries to explain Japan's endeavors to realize a world free of nuclear weapons. Moreover, during the G7 Ise-Shima Summit, Prime Minister Abe contributed an article to The Wall Street Journal (U.S.). Prime Minister Abe also held a press conference as the chair of the summit to convey to the world the results of discussions on the G7's tackling of the world economy, which was the major theme at the summit, as well as on women's empowerment, progress in international health, and stimulation of investment in quality infrastructure, which are all fundamental for sustainable growth. Prime Minister Abe also contributed an article to CNN during the UN General Assembly in September 2016 to outline Japan's efforts to date in international cooperation through the UN and emphasized the need for UN reform.

In addition, MOFA invited 101 journalists and eight TV teams from abroad, with a focus on media outlets with no correspondents in Japan, to provide opportunities for them to enhance their understanding of Japan's priority policies and positions. For example, as part of communications activities prior to TICAD VI, 10 journalists from 10 African countries were invited to Japan before the conference and were given the opportunity to report on subjects such as Japan's assistance to Africa. During TICAD VI, held in Nairobi, Kenya, a press tour was held for 14 reporters from 14 African countries, resulting in coverage in numerous media outlets in various African countries. Moreover, 21 reporters from 19 countries were invited throughout the year to Hiroshima where the G7 Foreign Ministers' Meeting was held, in an effort to communicate Japan's activities in nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, and promote other appealing aspects of Japan, particularly those of Japan's local regions.

In some cases where reports on Japan by the foreign media included factual errors, MOFA delivered explanations to the media or sent letters to the editor in order to promote reports based on accurate facts and understanding.