Japan’s Public Diplomacy at the Crossroads
This updates the chapter “Origins and Development of Japan’s Public Diplomacy” in the Routledge Handbook of Public Diplomacy (2009), which described structures of Japan’s public diplomacy and its brief history in the process of Japanese modernization, and extends the timeline into the 2010s. The crucial issue is to examine how Japan, by mobilizing the public diplomatic tools, has managed the national crisis caused by the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011. Facing the apocalyptic meltdown at Fukushima Daiichi Power Plant and collapsing perceptions overseas that Japan is the safest place in the world, the Prime Minister’s Office, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Japan Foundation operate the damage control missions through public information and cultural exchange programs. The true value of public diplomacy was put to the test through the turbulence of the unprecedented disaster. In the final part, this chapter focuses on new government trends and challenges in Japan’s public diplomacy toward 2020, namely, neoliberalization and civil socialization.