Report on the International Archives Day Commemorative Symposium 2014 and the Annual Meeting of the Directors of Public Archives

On June 10, 2014, the National Archives of Japan (NAJ) organized a commemorative symposium to celebrate the 7th International Archives Day, as well as the Annual Meeting of the Directors of Public Archives, in the city of Sapporo, the largest city in Hokkaido, the most northerly region in Japan.

This symposium can be traced back to the event in 2008 in response to the call from the International Council on Archives (ICA) to host commemorative events in order to raise awareness about this day. Created with the support of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) on June 9, 1948, ICA designated June 9 "the International Archives Day" in November 2007 to celebrate its 60th anniversary.

The symposium attracted an audience of 107 from public archives both state and municipal nationwide, archival institutions, etc.

In his opening remarks, NAJ President Katoh emphasized the importance of the symposium to share information, through active discussion, about current challenges we face such as training of young archivists and public records management, referring to the increasing responsibility of archival professionals brought by the growing public interest in the management of historical public records and archives.

Next, Tetsuya Ohama, Professor Emeritus at the University of Tsukuba delivered a keynote lecture under the title "What Are Public Archives Requested Now?" illustrating archival challenges under the existing circumstances.

In the following panel discussion moderated by Atsushi Saito, NAJ Senior Vice-President, an active discussion was held on what public archives are requested to do from the society, taking questions from the floor. The panelists included: Tetsuya Ohama, Professor Emeritus, University of Tsukuba; Yoshiro Komatsu, Former President, Matsumoto City Archives; and Manabu Sadakane, President, Okayama Prefectural Archives.

The Annual Meeting of the Directors of Public Archives of 2014 was held subsequently to the symposium. This meeting has been held since 1989 in order to ensure smooth implementation of the Public Archives Act and proper preservation and use of historical public records and archives by sharing current problems as well as to maintain close mutual contact among public archives directors.

This year, there were 94 attendees from state/local public archives and local public entities considering establishing their own archives. In addition to NAJ, three public archives presented case reports under the theme of challenges public archives currently face.

First, NAJ laid out its activity report for FY 2013-14 and activity plan for FY 2014-15. Also introduced was its policy for the public's requests to use Specified Historical Public Records and Archives under its custody.

Next followed a couple of reports by other public archives. Diplomatic Archives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan exhibited its future plans. The Archives of Hokkaido explained about its selection and transfer of public records. Lastly, the newly reorganized Sapporo City Archives presented the background to its reorganization and relevant city regulations.

Prior to the symposium, in the afternoon of June 9, a meeting was held by 65 mid-level officials attending the Annual Meeting of the Directors of Public Archives. They actively discussed practical issues around selection and appraisal of public records and the management, transfer, preservation and use of electronic documents. After the discussion, 82 delegates visited the Sapporo City Archives.

  • Keynote lecture by Professor Ohama

    Keynote lecture by Professor Ohama

  • Panel discussion

    Panel discussion

  • Presentation by the Sapporo City Archives

    Presentation by the Sapporo City Archives

  • Visit to the Sapporo City Archives

    Visit to the Sapporo City Archives


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