The Political Section covers diplomatic and foreign relations, Japanese politics and political-military affairs. Its work entails analyzing Japanese politics, facilitating bilateral and regional security relations, and cooperating with Japan on a full agenda of international issues. Utilizing an extensive network of Japanese contacts (government officials, politicians, labor leaders, academicians, journalists and others), the section advocates and explains U.S. positions, ensures that U.S. policy is effectively implemented and our interests protected, anticipates new policy requirements, and informs decision-makers by timely reporting.
The components of the section, headed by the Minister-Counselor for Political Affairs, are as follows:
- Bilateral and Policy Unit
- Political-Military Affairs Unit
U.S. diplomats working in the Embassy’s Political Section are available to speak in Japanese or English to organizations interested in U.S.-Japan relations.
Bilateral and Policy Unit
This office manages the broad array of U.S.-Japan political interests, including bilateral relations and cooperation on external or third-country issues. Officers covering Japanese domestic politics analyze the workings of the Japanese government, political parties, elections and broad political trends, tracking day-to-day developments in the Japanese body politic and helping define their significance for American interests. These diplomats also arrange meetings with senior politicians as needed to advance U.S. government interests.
Officers focusing on external affairs work to obtain Japan’s cooperation on issues of mutual concern to the U.S. and Japan, and report and analyze official Japanese thinking on foreign policy issues. These officers generally handle Embassy contact with the Foreign Ministry regarding international political topics and interact with other embassies.
Political-Military Affairs Unit
Working closely with U.S. military counterparts, the Political-Military Affairs Unit (“Pol-Mil Unit”) handles all issues associated with the U.S. military presence in Japan, as well as long-term political-military issues related to the U.S.-Japan security relationship. The Pol-Mil Unit represents the Department of State on bilateral structures such as the U.S.-Japan Joint Committee and the Alliance Transformation Oversight Panel. Pol-Mil officers engage the Japanese Diet, security specialists, and defense industry representatives to advance U.S.-Japan security cooperation in areas such as Ballistic Missile Defense and defense technology. Working with Foreign Ministry and Defense Ministry colleagues, they are on the front line of defining America’s evolving defense relationship with Japan.