Japan appoints new ambassador to China

Beijing (China Daily/ANN) - Japan appointed Shinichi Nishimiya to replace Uichiro Niwa as the new ambassador to China amid escalating tensions between the two neighbours over the Diaoyu Islands (known in Japan as Senkaku Islands) in the East China Sea.

The appointment was confirmed during a Japanese government Cabinet meeting yesterday morning. The Cabinet also appointed Koro Bessho, 59, as ambassador to the South Korea and Kenichiro Sasae, 60, as ambassador to the United States.

Shinichi Nishimiya had been deputy minister in charge of economic affairs since 2011.

Unlike Niwa, who is Japan's first envoy to China from the private sector, Nishimiya is a typical diplomat of Japan's bureaucratic style of governance.

According to the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the 60-year-old diplomat graduated from the University of Tokyo with a bachelor's degree in law and joined the ministry in 1976.

Nishimiya has worked at the Japanese embassies in Washington, Moscow and London. From 2005 to 2006, he served as a minister at the Japanese embassy in Beijing.

He also served as the director-general of the North American Affairs Bureau in Tokyo and consul-general of Japan in New York.

Observers said Nishimiya's appointment is "no more than a gesture", although it has been reported that the Japanese government expects the reshuffle to warm Tokyo's chilling relations with neighbouring countries over island disputes.

Shen Shishun, an expert on Asia-Pacific studies at the Haikou College of Economics in Hainan province, said Japan replaced the ambassadors to "make a gesture".

"Japan is only making a gesture that is useless to solve island disputes," he said, adding that Japan changed personnel but "not its position on sovereignty claims [over the disputed islands]."

Nishimiya, as Japan's top diplomat in China, is regarded as friendly to Beijing. In 2005, he said China's rapid development didn't pose a threat to Japan, but instead brought opportunities.

Liu Qing, a research associate at the China Institute of International Studies, said that a pro-China ambassador weighs "more on form than on substance."

"Japan chooses this moment to replace ambassadors because it wants to disperse pressure caused by the current diplomatic dilemma. Since the Japanese government fuelled tensions with China over the Diaoyu Islands, I see more empty talks than substance in the new appointment," he said.

"Japan has caused the loss of mutual trust with China. It will not be easily repaired by moves such as 'fine-tuning'. It will take generations to achieve that goal."

Japanese media viewed Niwa's replacement as a failed effort by the Democratic Party of Japan to break the "bureaucrat-led style of governance".

"It is a pity the Noda administration did not give its full support to Niwa," Asahi Shimbun said.

The Japanese newspaper said a non-diplomat envoy like Niwa would obviously think and speak differently from foreign ministry officials and "even tell the government what it may not want to hear".

"Niwa's recall is a disguised form of punishment," said Gao Hong, deputy director of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences' Institute of Japanese Studies.

Niwa warned in an interview with the Financial Times that Tokyo metropolitan government's "purchase plan" would cause "a grave crisis in Japan-China relations".

His remarks strongly displeased Japan's right-wing politicians, and he was heavily criticised by both the ruling and opposition parties.

Gao said it has been difficult for Niwa to serve as ambassador to China in such "troubled times" for both countries.

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • Phl, Japan sign P9.6-B ODA projects
    Phl, Japan sign P9.6-B ODA projects

    The Philippines and Japan have signed agreements for six official development assistance (ODA) projects amounting to 22.289 billion yen or around P9.6 billion. Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario and Japanese Ambassador Kazuhide Ishikawa signed and exchanged notes on Thursday for four of the projects amounting to 2.789 billion yen or around P1.195 billion. …

  • Commission to launch glossary of Pinoy meteorological terms
    Commission to launch glossary of Pinoy meteorological terms

    The Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino (KWF) will release a glossary of meteorological terms in Filipino to help the Filipino people better understand weather forecasts and instill disaster awareness among them. National Artist for Literature and KWF president Virgilio Almario said yesterday the KWF produced the glossary titled Patnubay sa Weder Forkast to simplify scientific terms used in the weather bulletins of the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration …

  • Divorce bill good scapegoat for couples – CBCP
    Divorce bill good scapegoat for couples – CBCP

    Contrary to what romance novel writers would want their readers to believe, there are no perfect marriages in the real world. This was according to Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) president Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas. In a statement titled “CBCP Position Against the Divorce Bill and Against the Decriminalization of Adultery and Concubinage,” Villegas said that while it is not easy to make relationships last, learning how to work out differences – and …

  • DND holds off infra dev’t in Pag-Asa
    DND holds off infra dev’t in Pag-Asa

    The defense department is holding off repairs and other planned infrastructure projects on Pag-Asa Island, one of seven islets and two reefs occupied by Filipino troops in the disputed Spratly Islands. Earlier, Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario pointed out that the maintenance and repair of facilities in Pag-Asa Island are not covered by the Declaration of Conduct (DOC) of parties involved in the West Philippine Sea territorial disputes. “Repair and maintenance is okay but before …

  • Blackout to hit 5 Aurora towns
    Blackout to hit 5 Aurora towns

    An 11-hour power outage will hit five towns in Aurora on Tuesday, the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP) announced yesterday. The NGCP said Baler, Dingalan, San Luis, Ma. Aurora and Dipaculao would be affected by the blackout. The NGCP said parts of Nueva Ecija and Aurora were hit by a power interruption yesterday due to the tripping of the Cabanatuan-Baler 69kV line. …

  • Rules set for climate change programs
    Rules set for climate change programs

    The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) and the Climate Change Commission (CCC) have released the revised guidelines to track and monitor climate change adaptation programs of the government. “The government of the Philippines has demonstrated leadership and strong commitment in implementing a comprehensive reform agenda to respond to climate change,” read the joint memorandum circular published in The STAR yesterday. “With the goal of using the budget process to plan, prioritize and …

  • It’s time to move on– Speaker
    It’s time to move on– Speaker

    The nation can now move on as President Aquino has satisfactorily explained his side on the Mamasapano incident for which he even begged for understanding, lawmakers led by Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. said yesterday. “It’s time to move on,” Belmonte said in reaction to Aquino’s pronouncements made before new police graduates at the Philippine National Police Academy (PNPA) last Thursday. The President has spoken far too much about what he knows and about his limited involvement in the …

  • ToyotaPH continues it’s strong sales in February
    ToyotaPH continues it’s strong sales in February

    Toyota Motor Philippines (TMP) sustains its strong sales in its February performance. Toyota’s strong performance last month was due to the  high demand of the Vios, with sales of 2,012 units and of course the rest of Toyota’s line up such as the Fortuner, Innova, Wigo, Hilux, Avanza and Corolla Altis. Toyota’s luxury brand, Lexus, recorded 60 units last month. …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options