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

国際面
日本発の「反日論文」 国際問題研理事長が回答 深く反省
、編集体制一新
1143 語
2006 年 8 月 18 日
産経新聞 大阪本社版 <javascript:void(0)>
07
日本語
(c) 2006 The Sankei Shimbun All Rights Reserved. 産経新聞社

13日付の「緯度経度」欄《日本発「公的な反日論文」》で古森義久・ワシントン駐在編集特別委員が、外務省管轄下の日本国際問題研究所(JIIA)が今春から始めた英文の「JIIAコメンタリー」について、事実に反する暴論があるなどの問題点を指摘。同研究所への公開質問状として「現在の日本の外交や安保の根本を否定するような極端な意見の持ち主に日本の対外発信を任せる理由はなんなのか」と問いかけた。これに対し、佐藤行雄理事長から次のような回答が寄せられた。

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日本国際問題研究所(JIIA)がこの4月から海外向けに始めた英文での小論シリーズ「JIIAコメンタリー」で送信した論文の中に、公益法人としての当研究所の立場にふさわしくない表現や、日本の立場や実情について誤解を招く用語などがあったことはご指摘の通りで、責任者として深く反省いたしております。

「JIIAコメンタリー」は海外のオピニオン・リーダーや研究者などを対象にして、国際問題についての日本人の見方や意見を英文Eメールで発信しようとする企画で、いずれ本格化する暁には、外部の識者も入れた編集委員会を設け、また、幅広い分野の問題について、できるだけ多くの方々に執筆していただけるような体制を整えていくことといたしておりました。

ただ、このような試みに対して、どのような国でどれだけの数の、また、どのような分野の人たちが応じてくれるかについては全く見当がつかなかったというのが当初の状況でした。

そこで、計画を本格化する前にこの点について一応の見通しを得ることが不可欠と判断して、研究所同士の付き合いなどを通じてあらかじめ内諾をいただいた方々を対象に、4月から実験的に発信を開始したものが、今回、古森さんのお目にとまった小論シリーズです。

ご質問いただいた編集担当者の採用理由につきましては、発信する論文はいずれ外部の有識者に寄稿をお願いするという前提の下で、専ら英語による論文の編集能力に着目したもので、試行期間中に本人が起案した小論につきましても、内容についてはとりあえず研究所内での審査を経ることといたしておりました。

それにもかかわらず、所内の審査が行き届かないままに発信が行われた結果、今回のような事態を招いた次第です。

ご指摘を受けまして、「JIIAコメンタリー」はとりあえず停止し、発信済みの小論のホームページへの掲載もとりやめましたが、さらに当研究所といたしましては、今回の事態を厳しく反省し、編集体制を一新した上で、各分野の識者のご協力も得て、国際問題についての日本人のさまざまな意見を対外的に発信する役割の一端を担うことができるよう、新たな努力を払って参りたいと考えております。

「日本からの対外発信はますます重要となってきた」という古森さんの認識を共有される方々のご理解とご支援をいただければ幸いです。

財団法人日本国際問題研究所理事長

佐藤行雄+++++