Gaimushō Gaikō Shiryōkan
- Diplomatic Archives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan / The Diplomatic Record Office of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan
The Diplomatic Archives was opened on April 15,1971 as an archive facility of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Since 1868, the first year of the Meiji Period, the Foreign Ministry has kept, classified, and preserved records of the Ministry and has paid great attention to the compilation and publication of such documents.
As the former Foreign Minister Kikujiro Ishii once said, "whether documentation is complete or not determines success in foreign policy." Unfortunately, however, a large number of vital documents were destroyed by fire in the bombing of Tokyo during World War II. Since the War, the Ministry has focused on collecting and restoring documents lost in the wartime confusion and requesting former Allied Powers to return seized documents, as well as organizing existing papers.
Since 1936 the Ministry has been publishing the Nihongaikobunsho (Documents on Japanese Foreign Policy), a chronological anthology of important documents collected from its archives , in order to contribute to greater understanding of foreign policy.
In the postwar era, especially after the Treaty of Peace with Japan signed in San Francisco in 1951, interest in the history of foreign policy has risen, which has in turn spurred rapid advances in research. The chronicles at Japan's Foreign Ministry have thus began to draw considerable attention and expectation from researchers and experts in the areas of diplomatic history, international politics, and other academic disciplines. The Ministry, however, had lacked the facilities to permit full access to its archives nor the staffing needed for full-scale archival management.
In response to requests from foreign policy researchers and experts to establish an archive comparable to those in Western nations, and because of the lack of space to keep prewar records in its archive, the Ministry established the Diplomatic Archives to preserve records from the end of the Tokugawa Period to the end of World War II in 1971.
In July 1988, the Annex was built to house an exhibition room, a library, a storage room and an administrative office. The Annex was donated by the late Prime Minister Yoshida Shigeru Memorial Foundation.