Diplomatic Bluebook 2017

Chapter 4

Japan's Diplomacy Open to the Public

Section 3 Diplomacy with the Support of the Public


(Proactive Communications 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 the structure of public relations, using all forms of media, lectures, and publications in an agile and effective manner.

To provide information in a timely fashion, regular press conferences are conducted by the Minister for Foreign Affairs and 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 other means. 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 communicates through various social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

MOFA organizes speeches by the Minister for Foreign Affairs to promote public relations through dialogue with Japanese nationals and also holds various lectures by its officials at international exchange 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 the Declassification of the Diplomatic Records” and is actively engaging itself in the smooth transfer of records and in their declassification. In addition, MOFA has been engaged in efforts to facilitate the public use of the diplomatic documents in accordance with the Public Records and Archives Management Act.

(Strengthening Foreign Policy Implementation Structure)

Amid rising number of the diverse diplomatic challenges, it is vital to strengthen the foreign policy implementation structure, which is the basis of diplomacy. MOFA is continuing its efforts to strengthen the 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 the diplomatic missions overseas, which are overseas bases for Japanese diplomacy, MOFA established Embassies in four countries in January 2017: Samoa, Albania, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), and Mauritius. MOFA also established a Consulate-General in Bengaluru (India) in January 2017. However, the number of the diplomatic missions overseas remains smaller than those of other major countries. MOFA is therefore committed to strategically improving this situation.

The number of staff members at MOFA is relatively small compared to that of other major countries. In addition to the establishment of more diplomatic missions overseas, in order to better respond to the complex international challenges and make international contributions comparable to other major countries, it is necessary to further increase the number of staff members. At the same time, the training system for staff members should be strengthened to improve the practical knowledge, capability, and foreign language ability of each individual diplomat as well as the enhancement of public relations skills through them. MOFA continues its efforts to ensure the necessary foreign policy implementation structure while further streamlining its organization.

MOFA included 714.0 billion yen in the budget for FY2016 to support the foreign policy implementation structure as well as promote diplomacy on the basis of Proactive Contribution to Peace as the chair country of the G7, as well as one of the non-permanent members of the UN Security Council.

(Role of Intellectuals in Diplomacy)

As is referred to in the National Security Strategy, expanding the intellectual base for Japan's diplomacy and security and promoting diplomacy that involves a broad range of people will lead to a strengthening of Japan's diplomatic power in the middle to long-term. Therefore, MOFA will deepen interaction with think tanks in the diplomacy and security fields, strengthen their development and reinforce support, and actively make use of the insights of private sector intellectuals.