Hideo Tarumi, Japan’s ambassador to China, speaks at a press conference at the Japanese Embassy in Beijing on Dec. 11, 2020. (Kyodo)

BEIJING (Kyodo) — Japan’s new ambassador to China on Friday expressed eagerness to deepen high-level exchanges between the two nations, at his first press conference since he took office late last month.

“If high-level officials of both countries do not establish relations to communicate anytime, our messages will not reach the other side,” Hideo Tarumi told reporters, pledging to make efforts to build stable Japan-China ties.

As for Chinese President ’s delayed state visit to Japan, “We are not in a stage where we can arrange a specific schedule, but it goes without saying that high-level dialogue between Japan and China is necessary,” he said.

Xi’s first state visit to Japan since he became president in 2013 was originally planned for around spring this year but was put off against a backdrop of the onset of the global health crisis.

Tarumi arrived in China’s eastern port city of Qingdao by a civil aircraft on Nov. 25. The following day, he moved to Beijing by a vehicle chartered by the Japanese Embassy and assumed office.

Amid the pandemic of the novel coronavirus, Tarumi had been quarantined for two weeks through Wednesday in his residence in Beijing as ordered by the Chinese government.

Tarumi is a “China School” diplomat who underwent Chinese language training with a focus on advancing ties with China. The senior Foreign Ministry official, however, is regarded as a “hard-liner” against the mainland.

A graduate of Kyoto University, Tarumi served as a minister responsible for political affairs at the Japanese Embassy in Beijing for more than two years before returning to Tokyo in 2013.

The Global Times, a tabloid affiliated with the ruling Chinese Communist Party, late last month quoted analysts as saying, “Tarumi is very competent and China-Japanese relations are expected to reach a higher level during his tenure.”

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