Column  Foreign Affairs and National Security  2009.05.07

What is PAC Dojo - Cultivation of Political Appointee Candidates for Foreign and Security Policies

Foreign Affairs and National Security group of the Canon Institute for Global Studies will establish "PAC Dojo (a forum to nurture policy experts who would be candidates for political appointment in the field of foreign and security policies)" in June 2009. PAC, an abbreviation for political appointee candidates, is a term invented by our group. We would like to offer an explanation on the purpose of establishing this forum.

Looking around in the political arena, it seems that recently politicians avoid tough political decisions and blame/bash bureaucrats for their own ineffectiveness. The bureaucrats, on the other hand, are fleeing from the task of creating policies with such politicians. Our view is that sound policies are neither formed nor implemented at good timing because there is no interface between the two sides.
We believe that it is about time that Japan introduced its own "political appointee system", in order to remedy the current situation and come up with an appropriate foreign and security policies that are asked of a nation.

From this standpoint, PAC Dojo will select about 10 applicants for future political appointee candidates and thoroughly train them in a virtual reality policy-making (a so-called "war-gaming" simulation in which policy-making processes as close as possible to reality will be experienced). These candidates will receive about two years of training to become full-fledged political appointee candidates.

As the first of such training, we will undertake a two-day overnight policy-making session on July 4 and 5, in a hypothetical crisis situation that occurred in the Middle East and/or South Asia. The session will take place at Canon's training facility in downtown Tokyo.These sessions will be convened about four times a year.

Of course we are fully aware of the adventurous nature of this endeavor, as it still remains unclear whether such political appointee system will take root in Japan. However, it is fortunate that our friends at the U.S. Department of Defense and Defense University are willing to cooperate with us. If you believe yourself to be the protagonist of this venture, we will be very happy to receive your application.

Also, there is something that we must mention so as not to give rise to any misunderstandings. That is, the aim of PAC Dojo is not to challenge existing bureaucracy or to become its alternative.

The intention of creating PAC Dojo is to foster able brains who would work as the interface between politics and administration, and who are willing to take political responsibilities together with politicians. In other words, by protecting bureaucracy from having to take on political responsibilities, bureaucracy will be able to reactivate its original mission, which is the planning and implementation of policies.

For details, please read the PAC application requirements by accessing our website Or, if you yourself cannot attend the forum, you are more than welcome to recommend our program to any young people whom you consider appropriate to become political appointee candidates.