Shinichi Nishimiya, the newly appointed Japanese ambassador to China, died today (Sept. 16) at a Tokyo hospital, government sources said. The incoming envoy previously served as the Consul-General of Japan in New York from March 2009 to the end of 2010, becoming Japan’s deputy foreign minister in charge of economic affairs prior to his new appointment.
Nishimiya, 60, collapsed near his home in Tokyo and was hospitalized on Thursday, only two days after becoming the top envoy to China. The cause of his death has yet to be known. According to Reuters, doctors were looking into the cause of death, but no other details were available. Police have ruled out the possibility of foul play.
Born in 1952, Nishimiya studied at the University of Tokyo and joined the foreign service of Japan in 1976. After working at the Embassies in Washington, D.C., Moscow and London, he served as the director of policy coordination division, Foreign Policy Bureau and as deputy director-general, Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau, both in Tokyo. From 2005 to 2006, he served as a as consul at the Japanese embassy in Beijing.
In his new role, Nishimiya would return to Beijing to replace Uichiro Niwa, his predecessor from the private sector, amid deterioration in bilateral ties sparked by Japan’s nationalization of the Senkaku Islands.
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