The new Japanese head of the government Fumio Kishida picked a former defence minister Gen Nakatani to be his special adviser on human rights issues.
Nakatani is known for his criticism of China’s treatment of the Uighur ethnic group, so, PM’s Kishida’s move could increase friction between Asian rivals.
The PM Kishida will name his special adviser on human rights for later this week after a special parliamentary session convenes.
Gen Nakatani has been an advocate for Japan joining other major democracies in imposing sanctions on China and others over suspected human-rights abuses.
Commenting on the meeting with the Japanese PM’s decision, Nakatani said he hopes to use the experience and knowledge to work intensely on issues involving human rights.
Mr Kishida helped guide his ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) to keep its majority in Parliament in an Oct 31 election, with foreign policy pledges calling for Japan to speak out on suspected human rights abuses by China in places such as Xinjiang, where Uighur Muslims live.
During the recent elections, Gen Nakatani supported Fumio Kishida in the race for LDP leadership. Since taking office, his LDP has pledged to work with the Western nations to defend democracy – signalling to China that his government will be vigilant when it comes to its neighbour, Kyodo News reported.