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Akio Miyajima, a career diplomat handpicked by Tokyo Gov. Yoichi Masuzoe to head the capital’s foreign affairs activities in the run-up to the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, aims to promote Tokyo as a resilient city.

Masuzoe, who has been pushing active capital-to-capital diplomacy, said Miyajima’s status as a professional diplomat has already brought about “bright results” since he took the post in July.

Miyajima has accompanied the governor on trips to South Korea and Russia, coordinating meetings with South Korean President Park Geun-hye and other senior officials of the two countries.

“The governor contributed to deepening relations between states and I’m honored to have been able to assist him,” Miyajima said. “This is very worthwhile doing.”

A native of Kanazawa, Ishikawa Prefecture, Miyajima majored in international politics at Waseda University in Tokyo. Since joining the Foreign Ministry in 1981, he has served as director of the First North American Division, minister at the Japanese Embassy in South Korea and minister at the Permanent Mission of Japan to the United Nations.

Before taking up his current post, he was ambassador extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary at the Japanese Embassy in Britain, and organized an annual rugby tournament to commemorate Katsuhiko Oku, a counselor at the embassy in London who was killed by unknown assailants while on duty in Iraq in November 2003.

Oku, who was posthumously promoted to ambassador, played rugby for Waseda. His friends, former colleagues and teammates from Japan and Britain have held the Oku Memorial Trophy Rugby Tournament every year in Britain for the past 10 years.

Miyajima, who entered the ministry the same year as Oku, said that although he can’t be part of the games any more because he is in Tokyo, “I will continue to do something associated with Japanese-British relations in various ways and I guess that will make Oku happy in heaven too.”

In response to criticism that Masuzoe has been spending too much time and energy on diplomatic activities, Miyajima said, “I would like to let the world know that Tokyo will be more vigorous under the governor.”

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