Japan is now facing declining birthrates and aging population, depopulation, financial deficits, and various other problems. These problems cannot be solved by a single ministry but by several ministries or agencies cooperating with one another. By coordinating among such ministries and agencies as well as making ministerial decisions, it is the MS that plays the role of "leading the ministry".
First, the MS arranges the direction of the MIC and coordinates with ministries and agencies and within the MIC over the process of planning and drafting various policies. For example, it deliberates over important policies with the various ministries through the conferences that have been set up in the Cabinet Secretariat.
The conferences that MIC is engaged in range from the Council on Economic and Fiscal Policy, the Headquarters for Japan's Economic Revitalization, and the Administrative Reform Promotion Council to conferences dealing with the pressing challenges of the times. With respect to the planning and drafting at these conferences, the MS is involved in the formation of policies for the entire government on behalf of the MIC.
The MS also undertakes the planning and coordination regarding the role to be played by the MIC for the number systems related to social security and taxes that are currently being discussed within the government.
In reflecting any planned and drafted policy on a specific law, likewise, the MS plays the role of "leading the ministry" in drafting bills and in Diet-related tasks. More specifically, the MS conducts its examination: namely, it closely examines the huge quantity of official documents and bills drafted within the ministry to see whether they conform to its policies, whether the regulations match one another well and whether the expressions are appropriate. Also, the MS serves as the point of contact for receiving consultations from other ministries and agencies regarding laws.
Other roles of the MS include hosting liaison meetings between the MS and each department or bureau to ensure smooth communication within the ministry. The MS is said to be the key to the ministry's decision-making.
The MS is in a position not only to lead but also to operate the whole of the ministry. By arranging and training the right personnel for the right positions, thereby upgrading their capabilities and improving their welfare, the MS builds an environment in which the personnel concerned can acquire an even higher education and work in a correct and lively manner. Another important role of the MS is to coordinate the organization of the entire MIC and the full number of personnel, and to make budget requests for implementing the policies of the MIC, in order to ensure the ministry to be organized in a manner in line with the current times and environment.
Moreover, to ensure an efficient and higher-quality administration, the MS assesses the policies of the MIC and makes administrative practices clear-cut by enriching its website contents and providing active public relations.
The MS also deals with matters related to commemoration of civilians killed in U.S. air raids during World War II. It also undertakes affairs taken over from the former Public Foundation for Peace and Consolation. This includes, through private consignment, running the Memorial Museum for Soldiers, Detainees in Siberia, and Postwar Repatriates and storing and managing materials, in order for the invaluable materials on the hardships of soldiers (including those disqualified for pensions), prisoners of postwar forced detention, and people repatriated from overseas to be succeeded to the future generations.