TOKYO — Japan named Shigeki Takizaki as its new top diplomat for Asian affairs on Tuesday, at a time when it is embroiled in a bitter feud with South Korea over wartime history and trade, and as North Korea provokes its neighbors with a series of missile tests.
Senior Foreign Ministry official Takizaki, 57, will succeed Kenji Kanasugi as director general of the ministry’s Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau, effective Sept. 9.
Kanasugi, 59, leaves the post after a little over three years to replace Kazuyuki Yamazaki, 58, as senior deputy foreign minister for economic affairs.
Takizaki has been responsible for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, as well as India and other Southwest Asian countries as head of the ministry’s Southeast and Southwest Asian Affairs Department since 2017.
He was point man on preparations to host the 2016 Group of Seven summit in the central Japan city of Ise.
Separately, Shigeo Yamada, 55, who serves at the secretariat of the National Security Council, will head the Foreign Ministry’s Foreign Policy Bureau, while Masato Otaka, 57, will serve as the ministry’s press secretary, according to the government.
The government also named Hajime Kitaoka, the current ambassador to Tajikistan, as its new top envoy to Estonia, effective Sept. 10.
Kitaoka, 63, has previously worked at embassies in Finland and Ethiopia and served as consul general in the Scottish capital of Edinburgh.