(Themis: February 2016 – p. 38)
After the Japan-ROK agreement on the comfort women issue last December, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) has shifted its focus more to the ROK.
The MOFA has decided to appoint Deputy Minister Yasumasa Nagamine as the next ambassador to the ROK in June, after the G7 Ise-Shima Summit. Nagamine has served as consul general in San Francisco and has been deputy minister for economic affairs since 2013. He is a capable official who served on the staff for the TPP negotiations.
The ROK is sensitive about an ambassador’s position in the MOFA home office. For this reason, recent ambassadors have been deputy ministers, the second ranking ministry bureaucrat.
Current ambassador Koro Bessho was involved with the founding of the “Asian Women’s Fund” in 1995, when he was head of the Northeast Asia Division. His next post will be ambassador to the UK.
Deputy Minister Shinsuke Sugiyama, who once served as minister in the ROK, will be promoted to the position of vice minister “to prevent deterioration in bilateral relations.” (Slightly abridged)