Japan to open embassy in Kiribati

The Yomiuri Shimbun
The Foreign Ministry head office is seen in Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo, on Nov. 1, 2020.

The Foreign Ministry plans to open a new embassy in Kiribati, an island nation in the southern Pacific Ocean, with the aim of countering China’s expanding influences on the country. The new embassy will be opened within several years.

Currently, the Japanese Embassy in Fiji handles diplomatic affairs regarding Kiribati. The ministry will establish an independent embassy in the country, and diplomatic officials will be permanently stationed there.

In 2019, the Kiribati government severed its diplomatic ties with Taiwan in favor of a relationship with China. As Kiribati is conducting such projects as repairs of an airport with aid from China, it is assumed that the country has been strengthening economic ties with Beijing.

The Foreign Ministry plans to make changes in some other countries as well.

For example, a new consular office will be opened in Noumea, the capital of French territory New Caledonia in the southern Pacific, and a new representative office is set to open in Malta, an island nation in the Mediterranean.

In Cambodia, the ministry is scheduled to upgrade its consular office in Siem Reap to a consulate general.