With two prominent personnel changes to his administration, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida may be signaling he's planning to take a more balanced and nuanced approach to Japan’s dealings with China.

Kishida on Wednesday formally appointed former education minister Yoshimasa Hayashi as the country’s new foreign minister and made onetime defense chief Gen Nakatani his special adviser on human rights, with a particular focus on China's contentious rights record.

Hayashi hails from Kishida’s faction within the Liberal Democratic Party, which has traditionally taken a China-friendly stance, and has advocated for face-to-face dialogue with the Chinese Communist Party leadership, calling it “very important” in helping to resolve bilateral issues.