The Foreign Ministry on Thursday appointed Motoatsu Sakurai, former head of the U.S. unit of trading house Mitsubishi Corp., as the new consul general for New York, effective the same day.

The appointment of Sakurai is part of the ministry’s efforts to recruit outsiders and marks the first time someone from the private sector has been appointed to the post of consul general in New York, ministry sources said.

Sakurai, 61, joined Mitsubishi Corp. in 1968.