The Straits Times
Published on Oct 06, 2012

Japan to pick career diplomat as China envoy


TOKYO (AFP) - Japan will name a career diplomat as its ambassador to China amid a bitter territorial row between the neighbours, reports said on Saturday.

The move came after a newly-appointed envoy fell ill and died last month.

Mr Masato Kitera, 59, will be chosen to succeed Mr Uichiro Niwa next month and become Tokyo's point man in the dispute over an island chain in the East China Sea, Japanese dailies Asahi and Yomiuri reported.

Japan initially picked Mr Shinichi Nishimiya, another career diplomat, for the post but before he could take up the role, he fell unconscious on a Tokyo street last month and was taken to hospital, dying a few days later. The death had "nothing to do with any accident or anti-Japanese demonstrations" in China, a foreign ministry official has said.