National

Foreign Ministry reorganizes to boost crisis-management

The Foreign Ministry will upgrade its consular affairs department to a bureau and create senior crisis management posts to better ensure the safety of Japanese abroad, according to ministry officials.

The ministry will also change the Treaties Bureau, which some Liberal Democratic Party lawmakers want abolished, into a bureau on international laws that will more actively push Japan’s national interests in the negotiation of international treaties, the officials said.

The Intelligence and Analysis Bureau will be abolished and will be replaced with individuals in senior positions responsible for intelligence-gathering and analysis.

The Cabinet is expected to approve the reforms Friday with the changes taking effect Aug. 1.

Large-scale organizational reform at the ministry last occurred in 1993, when the United Nations Bureau became the Foreign Policy Bureau.

The reforms are intended to help improve the safety of Japanese nationals abroad in the face of increasing worldwide terrorism, and to improve the government’s crisis management in overseas incidents involving Japanese nationals.

At the new Consular Affairs Bureau, upgraded from the current Consular and Migration Affairs Department under the minister’s secretariat, the ministry will create a consular services division to provide better assistance to Japanese citizens, according to a senior ministry official.

In addition, new senior positions will be created under the Foreign Policy Bureau to take charge of making diplomatic policies for a number of bureaus, the official said.

Other new sections include an interbureau committee to promote postconflict peace-building and reconstruction aid and a strategic task force on global issues, including the prevention of global warming.

In 2003, Foreign Minister Yoriko Kawaguchi released a report announcing the changes after the ministry was hit by scandals in 2001, including the misuse of official funds.

Coronavirus banner