NEW AMBASSADOR TO JAPAN

  • Simon Upton
Foreign Affairs and Trade

New Zealand's next Ambassador to Japan will be Phillip Gibson, currently Executive Director at Asia 2000, Acting Foreign Minister Simon Upton announced today.

"Japan is one of New Zealand's most important partners and the relationship is a top priority for our economic and strategic interests. It is the world's second largest economy and one of our three biggest export markets," Mr Upton said.

"Our links with Japan are well developed through political exchanges, business, contacts between communities, education, sport and working holiday exchanges.

"However we want to build the relationship even further, and Mr Gibson is well equipped to do that, especially given his background in Asia 2000. He is well known in the business community and has played a leading role in business, cultural and academic initiatives involving Japan and other Asian countries," Mr Upton said.

Mr Gibson also has extensive diplomatic experience, having been Ambassador to Thailand, from where he was also accredited to Viet Nam, Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar. He has previously held positions in Manila, New York and Rome.

Mr Gibson will take up his position in December, replacing Mr Neil Walter who was recently appointed as Secretary of Foreign Affairs and Trade.