Japan’s Cultural Affairs Agency Completes Relocation to Kyoto

The Yomiuri Shimbun
The new Cultural Affairs Agency building in Kyoto

The Cultural Affairs Agency, which began moving the bulk of its divisions from Tokyo to Kyoto in March, completed the relocation as scheduled during the Golden Week holidays and began full-fledged operations on Monday.

The relocation was decided upon in March 2016 as part of a regional revitalization effort trumpeted during the second administration of then Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Under the new system, five of the agency’s nine divisions, including those regarding cultural properties, were moved to Kyoto. About 390 agency officials now work in Kyoto, while about 200 remain in Tokyo.

It marks the first time since Meiji era (1868-1912) that a central government agency has been relocated outside the capital.

On March 27, Commissioner Shunichi Tokura and about 70 agency officials started working in Kyoto ahead of the others. Most of the remainder made the move during the Golden Week period, which ran from late April to early May.

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Cultural Affairs Agency Commissioner Shunichi Tokura, center, gives an opening address Monday morning at a ceremony to mark the agency’s relocation to its new office in Kyoto, with a video link to the Tokyo office.

Shortly after 9 a.m. on Monday, a ceremony was held at the new agency building in Kyoto’s Kamigyo Ward to mark the launch of the new organizational structure, with a video conference link to the Tokyo office.

“I hope you will perform your tasks efficiently by making use of the power of digital technology, and cause new winds of arts and culture to blow from Kyoto,” Tokura said in an address at the ceremony.

The agency’s religious affairs division, which is investigating the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification, better known as the Unification Church, is also slated for relocation to Kyoto, but will remain in Tokyo until its probe is completed.