In another clash with bureaucrats, Foreign Minister Makiko Tanaka has declared that she will check all personnel transfers at the ministry, including those for low-level officials, after being angered by the appointment of a new ambassador without her knowledge.
According to ministry officials, Tanaka was furious that senior bureaucrats did not ask her permission to appoint Masaki Orita, former ambassador to Denmark, as an envoy in charge of inspection. The position entails checking the accounting and other activities of the ministry’s overseas establishments.
Ministry officials said they sent the paper on the scheduled transfer to Tanaka last week. Tanaka claimed Monday she had not seen it and told senior officials to stop all transfers unless she approves of them.
At the time, Tanaka was caught up trying to stop her rival politician, Muneo Suzuki, from asking questions at a Diet session.
Under the ministry’s regular operations, transfer plans of bureau chiefs and higher positions, including ambassadors, are submitted to the foreign minister for approval. The transfers of rank-and-file officials, however, are decided and approved by the head of the personnel division and other senior officials.
Tanaka’s latest decision effectively freezes the transfer of some 100 staffers scheduled for early July, as it is unknown how long it will take for the minister to actually check and approve all of them.
In early May, Tanaka declared a freeze on all the personnel moves after opposing the transfer of the Russian Division head. She lifted the freeze a month later as a freeze on many ambassadorial moves began to affect diplomatic activities.
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