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Foreign Minister Makiko Tanaka on Friday appointed Masaki Orita, former ambassador to Denmark and Lithuania, as the ministry’s second inspector general in the wake of a high-profile fraud case involving a former Foreign Ministry official, ministry officials said.

The officials said Orita, 58, will team up with Takao Kawakami, 62, to strengthen the ministry’s inspection operations, along with Atsushi Tokinoya, former head of the Foreign Service Training Institute.

Tokinoya’s appointment as the third inspector general will be announced in the near future.

The Foreign Ministry has decided to appoint Tokinoya, 60, instead of Tadashi Ikeda, former ambassador to the Netherlands, as inspector general as part of Ikeda’s punishment over the embezzlement of secret funds by a former ministry logistics chief, ministry officials said earlier.

Ikeda served as deputy vice minister at a time when Katsutoshi Matsuo, who has been indicted on fraud charges, headed the logistics section handling overseas trips by prime ministers.

Ikeda was disciplined and voluntarily returned part of his salary in January.

The ministry apparently decided against Ikeda’s appointment in response to public outrage about lax oversight of the secret funds, as well as Tanaka’s expression of dissatisfaction at the disciplinary steps taken by the ministry under her predecessor, Yohei Kono, in January, ministry and government sources said.

In the wake of the embezzlement scandal, Kono had decided to increase the number of inspectors general by two to a total of three.

The government has also decided to appoint Masateru Ito, currently ambassador to Honduras, as ambassador to Venezuela, effective immediately. Ito, 59, has been posted in Honduras since June 1998, the officials said.

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