Nikolay Nozdrev, a director in charge of Japan and other Asian countries at Russia's foreign ministry, is slated to become the next Russian ambassador to Japan, filling a post left vacant for a year amid sour bilateral relations, diplomatic sources said Friday.
The 52-year-old may take up the position, subject to approval by the Japanese government, by the end of the year to succeed former Ambassador to Japan Mikhail Galuzin, who left the post in November last year.
Last month, Japan named Akira Muto, former head of the Foreign Service Training Institute, its new ambassador to Russia. He is expected to take up the post next month.
The new appointments could create a potential window to resume dialogue to mend strained ties between Tokyo and Moscow over Russia's ongoing invasion of Ukraine.
Last year, Russia designated Japan as an "unfriendly" country and banned the entry of Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, Cabinet members and other lawmakers. This action followed Tokyo's imposition of economic sanctions against Moscow in response to the war in Ukraine.
The Japanese government also froze the assets of President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, resulting in bilateral ties dropping to their lowest level in decades.
Nozdrev, fluent in Japanese, graduated from the Moscow State Institute of International Relations in 1994 before entering the foreign ministry.