Arctic Council ambassador named

Kyodo

Anticipating an increase in commercial use of sea routes due to climate change, the government on Tuesday appointed Masuo Nishibayashi, ambassador in charge of cultural exchange, to concurrently serve as ambassador in charge of the Arctic, a newly created post.

Nishibayashi will take part in meetings of the Arctic Council, once Japan joins the eight-country grouping designed to promote cooperation over common issues in the region, including sustainable development and environmental protection, according to the Foreign Ministry.

The intergovernmental consultative body involves such countries as Canada, Norway, Russia and the United States. Japan has applied for observer status since 2009.