Digitizing government archival records and P.M. Fukuda’s initiatives to strengthen the role of the National Archives Shohei Muta National Archives of Japan.

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  • Digitizing government archival records and P.M. Fukudas initiatives to strengthen the role of the National Archives Shohei Muta National Archives of Japan 3-2 Kitanomaru Park, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 102-0091, Japan smuta2@archives.go.jp http://www.archives.go.jphttp://www.archives.go.jp, http://www.jacar.go.jphttp://www.jacar.go.jp
  • Slide 2
  • Background to understand challenges faced by PM Fukuda Non existence of a modern central national archives until the establishment of National Archives in 1971 Long tradition of good record management tradition back to our ancient history Legacy of prewar government records management Continuous government scandals lack of good record keeping absence of the record management law introduction of FOIA and destruction of government records moral hazard no records no accountability
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  • Act on Access to Information Held by Administrative Organs (Freedom of Information) "administrative document" as used in this Act shall mean a document, picture, and electromagnetic record (a record made by an electronic method, a magnetic method, or any other method not recognizable to human senses. The same shall apply hereinafter.), that, having been prepared or obtained by an employee of an administrative organ in the course of his or her duties, is held by the administrative organ concerned for organizational use by its employees. However, the followings are excluded: (i )Items published for the purpose of selling to many and unspecified persons, such as official gazettes, white papers, newspapers, magazines, and books. (ii )Items that are, pursuant to the provisions of a Cabinet Order, specially managed as either historical or cultural materials, or as materials for academic research in the National Archives or other organs designated by a Cabinet Order.
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  • National Archives Law Chapter 4: Use of Government Documents and Records at the NA Article 16. The government documents and records preserved at the National Archives shall be made available for public use. Provided, however, that this does not apply to such government documents and records that are not fit for public use for reasons of the protection of privacy or for other rational reasons.
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  • Meiji Government and its record Management Records preservation going back to ancient times Pre-war administration and preservation of official records: modeling after various western countries Hierarchical government structure with the Emperor at its top: only to be accountable to the sovereign, who is infallible lack of modern archival tradition Absence of central depository (national archives) But official records were well managed and preserved
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  • Myth? Destruction of official records at the end of the war Most important records were moved to safer places Destruction orders were issued very end of the war, August 13-15 Army and Navy general staff officers hid many important documents avoiding confiscation by the GHQ Seizure by and return from the WDC
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  • The Draft Imperial Rescript on the Greater East Asia War Declaration
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  • 8 Digital Archive System Digital Gallery Searchable digital reading room 1.1 million files data available Digital images of Constitutions National Important Cultural Properties and large maps in high- definition digital format 710 images (531 items) available National Archives Digital Archive Japan Center for Asian Historical Records Search system Provide about 15 million digital images and more than 1 million searchable catalogue data Internet Special Exhibitions Russo-Japanese War US-Japan War Talks New exhibition on Modern History of Japan as viewed in the Originals of Treaties National Archives Digital Projects
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  • PM Fukuda and the archives? Mr. Fukuda as Chief Cabinet Secretary visited JACAR as early as January 2002 His first encounter with archives was 20 years ago at NARA Now he thinks: Important documents that are closely linked to peoples lives are handled inappropriately, I feel like saying Iam fed up with this mess and stop this right now. If a democracy is defined as a system in which each citizen is capable of making accurate decisions, then the facts have to be clear, I believe one of the fundamental tasks of a central government is to think about how to announce and preserve records and facts. (www.asahi.com/english/Herald-asahi/Tky200802270088.html)
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  • Road to the change? In 2003, as Chief Cabinet Secretary under PM Koizumi, Mr. Fukuda set up an advisory panel to look into the proper management, reservation and use of public documents Several reports have been published including preservation and management of born digital records In 2005, set up a league of LDP and New Komeito Diet members Last December, the league submitted a special appeal to PM Fukuda Feb. 29, PM appointed Yoko Kamikawa as state minister in charge of public documents management
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  • Policy Speech by Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda to the 169th Session of the Diet January 18, 2008 Administrative and Financial Reforms to Restore the Trust of the People The careless management of public documents, such as pension records, is absolutely unacceptable. We will conduct a fundamental review of the modalities for managing administrative records and will consider their legislation, and furthermore, we will improve the system for preserving public records, including expanding the national archives system.
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  • The key to the change and the key to understand Japanese politics and modern history Buntankanri Each ministry and agency is basically allowed to handle documents in whatever way it sees fit. Independence of each ministry From Meiji Government, example is WWII Army and Navy Prime Minister has two functions as a head of Cabinet as PM as a head of Cabinet Office (equal to other ministers)
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  • Thank you

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