Japan's Next Ambassador To China Collapses In Tokyo

Shinichi NishimiyaShinichi Nishimiya (l) with former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hull

Photo: AP Photo/Katsumi Kasahara

Just two days after being named Japan’s next ambassador to China, Shinichi Nishimiya collapsed near his home and had to be rushed to the hospital.According to the Wall Street Journal, a witness told Japanese media that “he saw Mr. Nishimiya, wearing a suit and carrying a briefcase, fall suddenly, face down, on the street.” An official at the foreign ministry confirmed his hospitalization to AFP. Currently, the Japanese government does not suspect that the illness was a result of foul play, according to an unnamed government source.

His collapse could not have come at a worse time.

Nishimiya, 60, was set to take over as Japan’s envoy to China next month to help diffuse tensions between the two nations. China and Japan have both claimed sovereignty over a group of islands — known as the Senkaku in Japan and the Diayou in China.

Despite the fact that the islands are uninhabited, the bitter dispute has rekindled the charged, nationalistic competition that has marked the relationship between these two states. 

China’s leadership is in a similar predicament as well.

Xi Jinping, the man who was scheduled to become China’s next leader, has avoided the public eye for 12 days; speculation as to his whereabouts has ranged from as innocent as a soccer injury to as scandalous as hiding from assassination attempts. However, sources told The Daily Telegraph today that he suffered from a heart attack.

Whatever the case, the absence of senior leadership will make it all the more difficult to come to a solution to solve these territorial disputes.

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