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Japan's new national security adviser known ice breaker

Akiba tasked with navigating Tokyo through growing US-China rivalry

Takeo Akiba, then Japanese vice foreign minister, meets with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in August 2018. Akiba has played a central role in crafting Japan's China policy for years.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- Japan's longest-serving top career diplomat in the post-war era, Takeo Akiba, who was once called upon to make breakthroughs with North Korea and China, became the new head of the National Security Secretariat on Wednesday, a position where he will be asked to thaw currently chilled relations with a slew of neighbors.

Akiba, 62, who served as vice foreign minister for more than three years, the country's top career diplomatic position, earned the nicknamed "Mr. Diplomat" both within and outside of the ministry.

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