Monday, August 20, 2012

Japanese Gov't to replace ambassadors to U.S., China, S. Korea: sources

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- The Japanese government plans to concurrently replace its ambassadors to China, South Korea and the United States, in a move aimed at restructuring its diplomatic relations amid a series of wrangles including territorial disputes, sources close to the matter said Monday.

Vice Foreign Minister Kenichiro Sasae will replace Ichiro Fujisaki as ambassador to the United States, while deputy foreign ministers Shinichi Nishimiya and Koro Bessho will be appointed as ambassadors to China and South Korea, respectively, the sources said.

The government is expected to officially announce the planned appointments to the three key diplomatic posts after the current regular Diet session ends on Sept. 8, they said.

The appointment of Sasae, the Foreign Ministry's top bureaucrat, comes at a time Japan and the United States face pending matters including the relocation of the U.S. Marine Corps' Futenma Air Station and the U.S. military's plan to deploy the controversial MV-22 Osprey transport aircraft to the base in Okinawa Prefecture.

Among other key issues between the two countries is Japan's participation in talks on the U.S.-led Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade framework. Read More