Foreign Minister Makiko Tanaka said Tuesday she has frozen ministry personnel transfers after bureaucrats reassigned a staff member against her specific orders.
Tanaka told a press conference her decision came after some ministry members caused “mischief” during her absence Monday by ordering a staff member to go abroad for his next assignment.
Tanaka did not reveal the name of the official in question, but ministry sources said she was apparently referring to Jiro Kodera, who was serving as chief of the ministry’s Russian Division when he was told March 26 that he would become minister to Britain.
Kodera is reportedly at odds with the position held by senior ministry officials regarding how to resolve Japan’s territorial dispute over Russian-held islands off Hokkaido.
The transfer was announced one day after then Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Irkutsk, eastern Siberia.
Kodera had reportedly been told to head for Britain on Monday. Tanaka countered that unauthorized instruction when she heard of it and ordered that he return immediately to Japan, a senior ministry official said.
Tanaka also said she has instructed the ministry’s two senior vice foreign ministers to hold consultations with rank-and-file ministry staffers. Under the plan, staff will regularly visit the vice foreign ministers and give their views on how the ministry can be reformed.
The minister also lashed out at senior bureaucrats at the ministry, complaining of their inability to effectively execute her instructions and various other matters that have irked her since becoming foreign minister April 26.
“I have discovered since my appointment that there is no detailed map, dictionary or time zone list in the foreign minister’s office. I wonder how the former foreign ministers got their job done,” Tanaka said.
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