The Cabinet on Friday endorsed a reshuffle of senior Foreign Ministry officials, notably the appointment of Deputy Foreign Minister Akitaka Saiki to the ministry’s top bureaucratic post.
Saiki, 60, assumes the post of vice foreign minister, replacing Chikao Kawai, 60, who will retire with immediate effect. Kawai took on the job in September, when the Democratic Party of Japan was still in power.
As deputy director general of the Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau, Saiki in 2002 worked with then-Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Shinzo Abe on the repatriation of five Japanese who had been abducted by North Korea and the settlement of their North Korean-born children in Japan. Abe is now the prime minister.