Shinichi Nishimiya, the new appointee to be Japan’s ambassador in China, collapsed on Thursday and remained unconscious. Not having departed for his position in China yet, he was rushed to a hospital in Tokyo. An unnamed government official spoke to Kyodo News, saying that Nishimiya had been admitted, and was still unconscious as of Thursday afternoon.
The 60 year old Nishimiya, who has spent his entire career serving as a diplomat, is said to have collapsed in the street near his home in Tokyo’s Shibuya Ward. Officials with the Japanese Foreign Ministry confirmed to Jiji Press that Nishimiya had been taken ill, and was hospitalized for poor health, but didn’t have any more information. Other anonymous sources have told the media that they are not aware of any accidents that Nishimiya was involved in, but they are not suspicious of foul play at this point.
After being appointed to Japanese Ambassador to China on Tuesday, Nishimiya was going to be replacing Uichiro Niwa in Beijing at a time when diplomatic ties are being strained more than ever. Because of Japan’s purchase of the disputed Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands, Chinese patrol ships have been sent to the territory, and the Beijing government has threatened that it will defend the islets it sees as undoubtedly Chinese. As a former businessman, Niwa has been heavily criticized in his position, especially earlier this year when he made negative remarks about Tokyo’s plans to nationalize the islands.[via ABS CBN]