Kenichiró Sasae, the incumbent Japanese Ambassador to the United States, visited Missouri Southern on Oct. 13 as part of a tour of Southwest Missouri.

Ambassador Sasae – who toured the region with U.S. Congressman Billy Long – was the honored guest at a luncheon in the North End Zone Facility.

“We were delighted to welcome the ambassador to our area and to the Missouri Southern campus,” said Missouri Southern president Dr. Alan Marble. “We realize the importance of the economic, cultural, educational and strategic relationship between Japan and the United States. For us, the visit was a great honor.”

The 20 students from Japan studying at Missouri Southern were also in attendance.

Born in 1951, Sasae joined the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1974. He previously served at Japanese embassies in Washington, D.C., London, and Japan’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations and International Organizations in Geneva.

From 2005-08, he served as director-general of the Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau, where he was Japan’s representative to the fourth, fifth and sixth rounds (held between July 2005 and September 2007) of the six-party talks among South Korea, North Korea, the U.S., China, Japan and Russia.

Sasae served as deputy minister for foreign affairs from 2008-10 and as vice minister for foreign affairs, the top civil service job at the Foreign Ministry, from 2010-12. He was appointed to his current position in 2012.