Ministry of Foreign Affairs
(Gaimushō). Ministry of the national government primarily responsible for Japan's political relations with the outside world. Established in 1869 by the newly instituted Meiji government. With the exception of the 1930s and the first half of the 1940s, when the military gained ascendancy, the ministry has provided the organizational structure for implementing Japan's foreign policy. In the post-war period, economic issues have come to be the most important element of Japan's foreign relations. The ministry is led by the foreign minister, who is usually a politician with a Diet seat and who is appointed by the prime minister. (adapted from Japan: An Illustrated Encyclopedia. Tokyo: Kodansha, 1993)
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