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The Foreign Ministry on Friday appointed Mitsuhiro Saotome, the former ambassador to Zambia, as the first ambassador in charge of nongovernmental organizations, a post newly created under ministry reforms.

Saotome’s new post will require him to strengthen cooperation between the ministry and NGOs, but his mission has yet to be determined in detail, according to ministry officials.

He will be stationed in Tokyo but, according to ministry officials, it was not immediately known where his office will be located within the ministry.

The ministry decided to create the post after it was criticized for refusing to allow NGOs to attend an aid conference on the reconstruction of Afghanistan held in Tokyo in January.

Previously, Saotome served as director of the Non-Governmental Organizations Assistance Division and has written a book on the sociology of NGOs.

A senior ministry official has said Saotome is the most knowledgeable person in the ministry regarding NGO activities.

Liechtenstein envoy

The government approved at a Cabinet meeting Friday the appointment of Ambassador to Switzerland Yuji Nakamura to concurrently serve as ambassador to Liechtenstein. Nakamura, 58, a former consul general at the Consulates General in Frankfurt and Sydney, was named ambassador to Switzerland on Oct. 7.

Cape Verde role added

The government on Friday approved the appointment of Ambassador to Senegal Akira Nakajima, 55, to concurrently serve as ambassador to Cape Verde, according to the Foreign Ministry.

Nakajima, a former deputy executive director of the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization, took up the post of ambassador to Senegal on Sept. 30, and was appointed to concurrently serve as ambassador to Gambia, Mali and Mauritania on Nov. 1.

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