• SHARE

Kazuhiko Togo, former director general of the Foreign Ministry’s European Affairs Bureau, was finally named Japanese ambassador to the Netherlands on Tuesday after weeks of waiting for a freeze on his transfer to be lifted, the ministry said.

Togo, 56, had worked on advancing ongoing negotiations between Japan and Russia on a territorial dispute and concluding a bilateral peace treaty while serving in the director general post from August 1999 to the beginning of May.

His relocation to his new post to replace Tadashi Ikeda was put on hold May 8, when Foreign Minister Makiko Tanaka placed a freeze on all personnel transfers.

Ministry sources said earlier that Tanaka had been seeking to cancel Togo’s Dutch appointment due to their differences in approaches toward the territorial row with Russia, but she lifted the freeze on all ambassadorial appointments last week.

The Foreign Ministry also named Yoshiyuki Motomura, 55, former deputy director general of the Economic Affairs Bureau, as junior ambassador to the U.N., and Masahiro Ando, adviser to the Cabinet Office, as Japan’s top envoy to Luxembourg, the ministry said.

Ando, 56, takes the place of Shojiro Imanishi.

The ministry also appointed Kagefumi Ueno, 53 — consul general at the Japanese Consulate General in Melbourne, Australia — as ambassador to Guatemala, replacing Akira Urabe. Masami Takemoto, a 56-year-old consul general at the Japanese Consulate General in Houston, was chosen to be the top Japanese diplomat to Honduras. He will replace Masateru Ito.

All appointments, effective Tuesday, were approved the same day by the Cabinet.

Tanaka takes issue

Foreign Minister Makiko Tanaka lashed out Tuesday at what she calls excessive reporting of her by some media organizations, saying they are blatantly violating traffic laws and her privacy.

“They are like paparazzi,” Tanaka told a news conference. “There has been excessive attempts to report about my private life since the time of the (Liberal Democratic Party) presidential election.”

Tanaka campaigned for Junichiro Koizumi, who won the party’s election in a landslide and was elected prime minister April 26.

The same day, Koizumi appointed Tanaka as foreign minister.

As examples of excessive reporting, Tanaka said members of some media organizations, including major magazine publishers and dailies, regularly park their cars illegally near her residence and run red lights while pursuing her.

“(Such reporting) should not be forgiven,” Tanaka complained. “It’s an annoyance to my neighbors as well. The sense of audacity that the media can get away with doing anything cannot be accepted under any circumstance.

“It is shameful for Japan, as a cultured nation, and it also violates my human rights.”

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.

SUBSCRIBE NOW