Ambassador o Peru Morihisa Aoki officially resigned May 16, taking responsibility for the hostage crisis at his official residence in Lima, Foreign Ministry officials said.

His resignation was approved by a regular Cabinet meeting in the morning.

Aoki initially tendered his resignation a week earlier to Foreign Minister Yukihiko Ikeda. He also expressed his intention to resign at a session of the Upper House Foreign Affairs Committee on May 13.

Ikeda, who also appeared before the committee, said he would accept the resignation.

Aoki will stay at the ministry and wait for an appointment to a new post, the officials said.

He expressed a desire to continue at his post when he returned to Japan on April 28, but was forced to consider resignation because of mounting criticism from some of the former hostages over his handling of the crisis.

Meanwhile, Nagao Hyodo, 60, was appointed as ambassador to Belgium, the officials said.

He has been ambassador to Poland since February 1993, according to the officials.

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