Japan appoints new ambassador to China amid disputed-territory tension
TOKYO (AFP) - Japan has appointed a new ambassador to China, months after the last nominee died before he could take up his post and as tensions simmer between Tokyo and Beijing over disputed territory.
Career diplomat Mr Masato Kitera's appointment will be effective on Monday, the foreign ministry said on Thursday, while local media reported that the 60-year-old will be dispatched to Beijing next month to formally succeed Mr Uichiro Niwa.
Japan initially picked Mr Shinichi Nishimiya, another career diplomat, for the post but before he could take up the role he fell ill in a Tokyo street in September and was taken to hospital, dying a few days later.
Mr Kitera is set to become Tokyo's point man in the ongoing dispute over an island chain in the East China Sea, which Tokyo controls under the name the Senkaku Islands but Beijing claims as the Diaoyu Islands.