September 17, 2012 - 14:05 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - The newly appointed Japanese ambassador to China has died after taking ill and collapsing in Tokyo late last week, CNN reported.
In a brief statement, the Japanese Foreign Ministry confirmed Shinichi Nishimiya, 60, died on Sunday, Sept 16, after spending the weekend in hospital because of his "health condition." He collapsed just two days after being appointed to the job.
The ministry did not disclose any further details about what had happened.
Previously a deputy minister for foreign affairs, Nishimiya was due to replace the current Japanese envoy in Beijing, 72-year-old Uichiro Niwa, in the coming weeks amid heightened tensions between Japan and China.
The Japanese government's recent purchase of a set of disputed islands in the East China Sea from a private owner has angered Beijing, which has called the acquisition "illegal and invalid."
On Friday China sent six surveillance vessels to carry out patrols around the remote islands, which Japan calls Senkaku and China calls Diaoyu, in an effort to underscore its claim to sovereignty. The ships briefly entered Japanese territorial waters despite warnings not to do so, the Japanese Coast Guard said.
The dispute also hit a nerve with many ordinary Chinese, as tens of thousands took to the streets at the weekend to protest against Japan's stance. In Beijing, Japan's embassy was attacked with eggs and bottles, while angry mobs in other cities across China ransacked Japanese businesses and burned Japanese-made cars.