Response by Amb. Satoh
JIIA Commentary Archive

JIIA's / Amb. Satoh's Response

Reply from Yukio Sato, president of The Japan Institute of International Affairs, regarding "anti-Japan essay" run in JIIA newsletter: Having deeply reflected on this matter, I will completely change editorial arrangement

SANKEI (Page 7) (Full)
August 18, 2006

On Aug. 12, Sankei's special editorial member Yoshihisa Komori, who is stationed in Washington, pointed out in a column, titled, "Japan-dispatched official anti-Japanese essay," that "JIIA Commentary" -- an English-language e-mail publication that JIIA, which is under the Foreign Ministry's jurisdiction, started this spring -- contained such problematic points as wild arguments that were not based on fact. The column was in the form of an open letter to the Institute asking: "What is the reason for entrusting Japan's international messages to someone with extreme views who rejects Japan's current diplomatic and security foundation?" In response, President Sato has sent the following reply.

It has been pointed out that in the JIIA Commentary, a series in English for overseas audiences that began this April, an essay contained expressions inappropriate from the standpoint of JIIA, which is a public interest organization, and language that would invite misunderstanding about Japan's position and situation. As the responsible official, I accept the criticism and have deeply reflected on it.

JIIA Commentary was planned to be an e-mail transmission in English aimed at opinion leaders, scholars and others overseas in order to present the views and opinions of Japanese on foreign affairs. In bringing this about, I decided to set up an arrangement under which I set up an editorial board that included outside scholars and planned to invite as many persons as possible to write on a broad range of issues.

However, the situation at first regarding this initial attempt was that we had not ascertained yet how big our audience would be and in which countries, as well as what sort of persons and from what fields would respond. On that point, prior to implementing our plan, I judged it was indispensable to generally gauge the future prospects. In April we commenced a test transmission, having obtained in advance informal consent through acquaintances at other research institutes to receive them. However, our series caught the eye of Mr. Komori.

Regarding Mr. Komori's question of what was my reason for choosing the person in charge of editing, under the premise that we would always be requesting knowledgeable persons outside the government to contribute essays for transmission, we directed our attention to bringing in a person with skills in editing essays written solely in English. So during the trial period, regarding the drafts that the editor prepared, we screened the contents for the time being in the institute.

Despite that set up, transmissions were sent out without the institute having first screened them. As a result, this led to the situation that has occurred this time.

Having accepted Mr. Komori's comments, JIIA Commentary is being suspended for the time being, and the essays from past transmissions on the home page will be removed. In addition, speaking for this institute, I, having deeply reflected on this situation, plan to make a full change in our editorial arrangement.  I think I would like then to make a new effort, after receiving the cooperation of academics in each field of interest, so that the institute can play a role in part to transmit to foreign audiences the various views of the Japanese on international affairs. I would appreciate the understanding and support of those like Mr. Komori who share the same perception that "the messages from Japan to foreign audiences have become increasingly important."

Yukio Sato, President, Japan Institute for International Affairs

日本発の「反日論文」 国際問題研理事長が回答 深く反省
1143 語
2006 年 8 月 18 日
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