A declining birthrate and aging population, a declining population, financial deficits, and various other problems are now facing Japan. These problems cannot be solved by a single ministry but only by several ministries or agencies cooperating with one another. Moreover, the "role of leading the ministry," by coordinating efforts among such ministries and agencies and making ministerial decisions is played by the "Minister's Secretariat."
More specifically, the Minister’s Secretariat assists in planning and drafting various policies for the MIC by the big three ministerial aids of the MIC (Minister, State Secretary, and Vice-Minister). It deliberates and coordinates matters within and outside the ministry, including communicating and coordinating matters related to the Big Three Ministerial Aids Conference and various other conferences attended by the big three ministerial aids, and considering and responding to matters in response to the findings made at conferences and instructions given by the big three ministerial aids. Among the conferences engaged in professionally by the MIC are the Administration Reform Conference, New Growth Strategy Implementation Conference, Regional Sovereignty Strategy Conference, Ministerial Conference on Global Warming, and Strategic Headquarters for Promoting the Advanced Information and Telecommunication Network Society. For examples of specific moves made by these conferences, the Ministerial Reform Conference has sorted projects and special accounts of the state and charitable corporations, while the New Growth Strategy Implementation Conference is considering comprehensive economic collaboration, a comprehensive special zone system, and other issues in order to promote and accelerate implementation of the“New Growth Strategy”(approved at a Cabinet meeting in June 2010). Moreover, the Regional Sovereignty Strategy Conference devised an action plan concerning reforms on destination establishments according to the Outline of Regional Sovereignty Strategies (approved at the Cabinet meeting in June 2010).
As such, the Ministerial Secretariat helps form policies for the entire government as pertaining to the planning and drafting of measures to cope with important challenges facing the Cabinet, and urgent issues affecting wide-ranging fields that arise from time to time.
In reflecting any planned and drafted policy on a specific law, likewise, the MS plays the "role of leading" the entire ministry in drafting bills and in Diet-related tasks. More specifically, the MS conducts its examination: namely, it examines the huge quantities 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, thereby checking all the details. Moreover, the MS serves as the contact for receiving consultations from other ministries and agencies regarding laws and, conversely, as the contact for the MIC when the latter wishes to consult other ministries and agencies.
Other roles of the MS include sponsoring liaison meetings between the MS and each department or bureau to ensure smooth communication within the entire ministry. In so doing, the MS is in charge of the key points in 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 is 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 enhancing its website and otherwise providing active public relations.
The Minister’s Secretariat also deals with matters related to commemoration of civilians killed in U.S. air raids in World War II, manages the Memorial Museum of the Soldiers, the Detainees in Siberia and the Postwar Repatriates, and supervises the Public Foundation for Peace and Consolation.
■ A press conference in progress with the Minister in the Press Conference Room