New ambassadors named to U.S. and Britain

Kyodo News

The government picked two seasoned diplomats Tuesday to fill top ambassadorial posts, appointing Ichiro Fujisaki ambassador to the United States and Shin Ebihara ambassador to Britain.

Shinichi Kitajima, former ambassador to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, was named to succeed Fujisaki as ambassador of Japan’s permanent mission in Geneva, the Foreign Ministry said.

Fujisaki and Ebihara, both 60, share a common background, having served as director general of the North American Affairs Bureau and minister at the embassy in Washington. Fujisaki will replace Ryozo Kato in Washington and Ebihara will take over from Yoshiji Nogami in London.

A native of Kagoshima Prefecture, Fujisaki joined the ministry in 1969 and has also held posts such as deputy minister.

Ebihara’s career since joining the ministry in 1971, on the other hand, includes stints as executive secretary to the late Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi in 1998-2000, and as assistant deputy chief Cabinet secretary in 2005 in Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi’s administration.

Ebihara, who hails from Tokyo, had once been rumored as the top candidate to become vice foreign minister in January’s major reshuffle in the ministry. He was ambassador to Indonesia before the latest appointment and has also served as chief of the Treaties Bureau.

Kitajima, 61, is also a native of Tokyo and has headed the Economic Affairs Bureau, as well as served as minister to the U.S. and consul general in Boston.