Japan is considering naming Hideo Tarumi, a veteran diplomat known as a Chinese expert, as its new ambassador to China, local media reported on Wednesday.
If he assumes the post, the 59-year-old deputy minister of the Japanese Foreign Ministry’s Secretariat would be another diplomat from the ministry’s “China School “to become an ambassador to China after Yutaka Yokoi, the current ambassador who has been in the post since May 2016.
The ministry’s “China School “refers to those diplomats who had received language training in China after joining the ministry with a specific focus on advancing relations with Beijing.
Joining Japan’s Foreign Ministry in 1985, Tarumi has held a number of posts, including director of the China and Mongolia Division, chief minister at the Japanese embassy in Beijing, and he was promoted as deputy minister of the secretariat in July last year.
Upon arriving in Beijing, Tarumi would be tasked with navigating the relationship between the two neighbors in Northeast Asia, which has been tested by longtime territorial issues and fresh ones like differing views over China’s approach to the coronavirus outbreak.
On Tuesday, Japan published its 2020 Defense White Paper, accusing China of pushing its territorial claims and spreading disinformation in the fight against the coronavirus outbreak.
In response, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said the white paper is fraught with bias against China and false information.
“China has already stated its solemn position,” Zhao said, adding that Japan should work with China to “build constructive security relations and play a positive role in safeguarding regional peace and stability.
“As a responsible major country firmly committed to pursuing neighborhood diplomacy of building friendships and partnerships with its neighbors and upholding a national defense policy that is defensive in nature, China has been championing, building and contributing to world peace, stability and prosperity,” Zhao said.