Japan named its new top diplomat for Asian affairs on Tuesday, at a time when it is embroiled in a bitter feud with South Korea over wartime history and trade and as North Korea provokes its neighbors with a series of missile tests.
Shigeki Takizaki, currently head of the Foreign Ministry’s Southeast and Southwest Asian Affairs Department, will succeed Kenji Kanasugi as head of the Foreign Ministry’s Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau, effective Sept. 9.
Beginning his career at the ministry after graduating from the University of Tokyo in 1985, Takizaki, 57, has previously worked at Japan’s embassy in the United States and was the point man on preparations to host the 2016 Group of Seven summit in Ise, Mie Prefecture.
Kanasugi, 59, leaves the post after a little over three years to replace Kazuyuki Yamazaki, 58, as senior deputy foreign minister for economic affairs.
Separately, Shigeo Yamada, 55, who serves at the secretariat of the National Security Council, will head the Foreign Ministry’s Foreign Policy Bureau, while Masato Otaka, 57, will serve as the ministry’s press secretary, according to the government.
The government on Tuesday also named Hajime Kitaoka, the current ambassador to Tajikistan, as its new top envoy to Estonia, effective Sept. 10.
Kitaoka, 63, has previously worked at embassies in Finland and Ethiopia and served as consul general in the Scottish capital of Edinburgh.