Ambassador from Japan: Who Is Kenichiro Sasae?

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Challenged in recent years by territorial disputes with China and South Korea and the bellicose rhetoric of nuclear-armed North Korea, Japan late last year replaced its ambassadors to China, South Korea and the U.S. with senior Foreign Ministry officials. Despite an anti-corruption rule adopted in 2002 barring high ministry bureaucrats from becoming ambassadors, the new ambassador to the U.S. is Kenichiro Sasae, most recently vice minister for foreign affairs, who succeeded Ichiro Fujisaki, who was Tokyo's man in Washington starting in June 2008.


Born circa 1952, Sasae joined the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1974. Career highlights from the first 25 years of his diplomatic career include service at the Japanese embassy in Washington, DC, at the embassy in London, U.K., and at Japan's Permanent Mission to the United Nations and International Organizations in Geneva, Switzerland.


Ascending to the top of the Foreign Ministry bureaucracy, Sasae served as deputy director-general of the Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau from 1999 to 2000, as executive assistant for Foreign Affairs to Prime Minister Yoshirō Mori from 2000 to 2001, deputy director-general of the Foreign Policy Bureau from 2001 to 2002, and director-general of the Economic Affairs Bureau from 2002 to 2005.


From 2005 to 2008, Sasae served as director-general of the Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau, where he was Japan's representative to the fourth, fifth, and sixth rounds (held between July 2005 and September 2007) of the “six-party talks” among South Korea, North Korea, the U.S., China, Japan, and Russia, that sought to find a peaceful resolution to the security concerns that arose when North Korea withdrew from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation treaty in 2003 and developed a nuclear weapons program.


Sasae served as deputy minister for foreign affairs from 2008 to 2010, and as vice minister for foreign affairs, the top civil service job at the Foreign Ministry, from 2010 to 2012.


His wife, Nobuko Sasae, is a professional translator specializing in simultaneous translation. The couple has two children.

-Matt Bewig


To Learn More:

Official Biography

What Lies Ahead for Japan and the United States (by Kenichiro Sasae)

Veteran Diplomats Dominate Key Envoy Posts (Asahi Shimbun editorial)


Dianne Shatin 8 years ago
To his Excellency Ambassador Kenicharo Sasae: For people in the USA who wish to respond immediately to meet the urgent needs of the Japanese families devastated most recent by the Earth Quake that hit the Southern part of Japan, would it be possible, sir, for you to recommend a charity or organization in Japan or other, that has shown through its work providing shelter, food, jobs, relocation, medical assistance and services needed to help victims to recover and to make a safe transition to a normal life again and does not simply pocket such contributions or use it to pay salaries to their own people instead? Many Charitable organisations instead of providing urgent care and necessities to people in immediate need, pocket donations and use it for their own enrichment. There are many excellent, charitable five star organisations who truly help those in need. I am writing specifically, Sir, for assistance by your staff to identify for American citizens who wish immediately to respond to the suffering of the Japanese people devastated by the most recent Earth Quake that just now effected Southern Japan although the name of the town at the epicentre escapes me at this moment., If your staff could email to be, just a regular citizen who wants to help, the name of a couple of outstanding charities, based on their past performance, then today and into the future we can know to whom to direct our resources to help the Japanese people when and if disaster should hit the beautiful, exquisite, and most remarkable country that is Japan. With great respect and admiration, Ms. Dianne Shatin Levittown, PA

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