Citing government sources Asahi Shimbun (July 15) reported that 59-year old Hideo Tarumi, a Foreign Ministry official with close connections in Beijing has been selected as Japan's next Ambassador to China at a time of increasing uncertainty over the bilateral relationship. Hideo Tarumi, who is presently Deputy Minister at the Foreign Minister’s Secretariat, will replace the current ambassador Yutaka Yokoi, who assumed the post in 2016. The Japanese government apparently wants to resolve pending issues between the two countries by giving the top diplomatic post to someone well-versed in Chinese politics.

(Comment: Hideo Tarumi joined the Foreign Ministry in 1985 and entered its so-called China school for Ministry employees to train in the Chinese language. His previous posts include Director of the China and Mongolia Division, Minister at the Japanese Embassy in Beijing, and Director General of the Consular Affairs Bureau. He is known for having strong ties with Chinese leaders and officials, as well as skills in intelligence gathering and analysis. Tarumi is also close to Toshihiro Nikai, secretary-general of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party.)

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