Japanese diplomacy analyst Okamoto dies after contracting coronavirus

Japanese diplomacy analyst Okamoto dies after contracting coronavirus

Yukio Okamoto, a diplomacy analyst who had been an adviser to past Japanese prime ministers, died on April 24 after contracting the novel coronavirus, a government source said Thursday. He was 74.

Okamoto, a former Japanese Foreign Ministry official, had also been a senior research fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Center for International Studies.

He served as adviser to Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto between 1996 and 1998 and Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi between 2003 and 2004.

(Yukio Okamoto, former special adviser on national security to Prime Minister. photo taken on May 26, 2015)

Under the Hashimoto administration, Okamoto was in charge of issues related to Okinawa, mediating talks between the central government and the Okinawa prefectural government over such issues as the relocation plan for U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma and promotion of the local economy.

Under Koizumi’s leadership, Okamoto led preparatory work for Japan’s project to provide reconstruction assistance to Iraq.

In 2015, he served as a member of a private advisory panel to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to craft the premier’s statement on the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II.

A native of Kanagawa Prefecture, southwest of Tokyo, Okamoto joined the Foreign Ministry in 1968 and served in key posts such as director of the First North America Division before leaving the ministry in 1991.

He also appeared on TV programs as a diplomacy commentator.

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