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The government approved on Friday the appointment of Teiichi Sato, former administrative vice education minister, as Japan’s first ambassador to UNESCO, officials said.

The appointment of 61-year-old Sato as ambassador to the Paris-based organization took effect immediately, they said.

Japan established the post as of Jan. 1.

Sato, a native of Oita Prefecture, joined the Education Ministry in 1964, serving in positions that included director of the minister’s secretariat and administrative vice minister.

The government also approved the appointments of former Ambassador to Pakistan Sadaaki Numata as ambassador to Okinawa, succeeding Hiroshi Hashimoto, who became ambassador to Austria.

The Okinawa post was established in 1997 under the Cabinet of Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto with the intention of emphasizing issues concerning the prefecture, including the heavy U.S. military presence.

Numata, 59, was spokesman for the ministry before becoming ambassador to Pakistan, while Hashimoto, 61, was ministry spokesman and ambassador to Singapore.

Toshio Mochizuki, 60, former ambassador to the United Arab Emirates, was appointed ambassador to Greece.

Mochizuki’s past positions have included consul general at diplomatic offices in New York and Boston since he joined the ministry in 1966.

Kanji Tsushima, consul general at the Consulate General in Porto Alegre, Brazil, was appointed ambassador to Mozambique, while Masayuki Makiya, consul general in Chennai, India, was appointed ambassador to Sudan.

Tsushima, 59, became consul general in Porto Alegre in February 2001, while Makiya, 60, became consul general in Chennai in May 2001.

Katsuo Yamashita, consul general in Makassar, Indonesia, became ambassador to Papua New Guinea, while Yoshitaka Tomita, counselor at Japan’s permanent mission to the United Nations Office and International Organization in Geneva, was appointed ambassador to Guinea.

Yamashita, 61, became consul general in Makassar in April 2001, while Tomita, 61, became counselor in Geneva in November 2001.

Kiyoshi Araki, Japan’s minister to the OECD in Paris since August 2000, became envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary to the OECD.

Araki, 53, has held posts including minister at the embassy in Ottawa and deputy director general at the ministry’s secretariat.

Yoshio Nomoto, minister at the embassy in Beijing, took up the post of envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary there.

Nomoto, 54, has held such posts as consul general in Seattle.

Ichiro Komatsu, 51, envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary at the embassy in Washington, was appointed director general of the European Affairs Bureau.

Komatsu’s previous posts have included minister to the embassies in Seoul and Washington as well as deputy director general of the Treaties Bureau.

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