New Japanese ambassador hospitalized
Updated: 2012-09-14 03:28
By ZHANG YUNBI and WANG CHENYAN (China Daily)
The newly appointed Japanese ambassador to China, Shinichi Nishimiya, has been rushed to a hospital after collapsing in Tokyo, the Japanese Foreign Ministry said on Thursday.
Nishimiya's appointment was approved by the government on Tuesday to replace current Japanese Ambassador to China Uichiro Niwa. The reshuffle comes at a time when the two countries are embroiled in a dispute over a group of islands in the East China Sea, local media reported.
Analysts said Tokyo has placed high expectations on Nishimiya to deal with bilateral spats and prevent Japanese companies' markets from further shrinking in China.
The 60-year-old career diplomat was found unconscious and lying on the ground near his home in Tokyo's Shibuya District at about 8:45 am on Thursday. A female passer-by called emergency services.
His condition is not known.
Tokyo's top spokesman, Japanese Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura, refused to share his views on the new ambassador's unexpected health problem as he wanted to "control comments at the current time", Japan's Jiji Press News Agency reported.
Fujimura only confirmed that Nishimiya was sent to a hospital, and rebuked the suggestion Nishimiya was involved in certain incidents which have been the subject of speculation in local media.
As deputy foreign minister in charge of economic affairs, Nishimiya had until recently been working with other countries in relation to the recently concluded Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Vladivostok, Russia.
A newly appointed ambassador usually begins work in the designated country within 40 days of their appointment after being briefed by his predecessor in Japan, according to the Japanese Foreign Ministry.
Nishimiya, regarded as friendly to Beijing, was previously scheduled to start his work in China in early October, Japan's NHK television said.
Unlike his predecessor 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. He entered Japan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1976 and served as counselor to Russian affairs, minister to China affairs and deputy minister for foreign affairs in charge of the economy.
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Xinhua contributed to this story.