Japan’s New Ambassador to China Hopeful of Spurring Talks; Could Meet Astellas Employee Held by China

Ichiro Ohara / The Yomiuri Shimbun
Japanese Ambassador to China Kenji Kanasugi speaks at a press conference at the Japanese Embassy in Beijing on Tuesday, the day he assumed the post.

BEIJING — Japan’s new Ambassador to China Kenji Kanasugi assumed his post Tuesday and expressed his wish to move the Japan-China relationship forward at a press conference on the day at the Japanese Embassy in Beijing.

In light of the November summit between the leaders of Japan and China, Kanasugi said, “I hope to see progress in stalled dialogue and talks.”

“One of the most important tasks for ambassadors and embassies is to ensure the safety and security of overseas Japanese, and to protect the rights and interests of Japanese businesses,” he added. He also said he would work for the early release of Japanese nationals being held by Chinese authorities, including an employee of Astellas Pharma Inc. who has been detained since March. He said he would consider visiting the man in detention, as his predecessor Hideo Tarumi did.

Kanasugi is the first Chinese ambassador in about seven years to assume the post from outside the Foreign Ministry’s group of diplomats trained in Chinese, dubbed the China School.