Tokyo: Ten countries, including eight in Africa, do not have embassies in Japan and their embassies in China take charge of diplomatic operations involving Japan, a trend that likely reflects China's increasing, and Japan's dwindling, global presence, an upper house committee meeting has revealed.
State Secretary for Foreign Affairs Tetsuro Fukuyama yesterday said during a House of Councillors panel meeting that eight African and two Mediterranean states let their embassies in China cover Japan, while "there isn't a single country" that has its embassy in Japan covering China.
The eight African countries are Togo, Guinea-Bissau, Sierra Leone, Niger, Congo, Guinea, Burundi and Seychelles. The two Mediterranean countries are Cyprus and Malta.
China sent government officials to Africa frequently with an eye to securing natural resources, while Japan's local presence is "significantly lower" than China's, according to a Japanese government source.
"It mirrors how the countries view China and Japan, and I regret it," Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada said at the panel meeting while explaining that Japan has not set up embassies in the 10 countries due to a limited budget. He proposed strengthening ties with the countries through the Japanese embassy in China.
Burundi established an embassy in Japan in 1989 but closed it in 1997, while Congo set up one in 1996 but closed it two years later.
China has embassies in each of the 10 countries.
First Published: Friday, March 26, 2010, 15:38