Kiichiro Sato, Foster Klug named to leadership posts in Asia

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AP Appointments Asia

This Aug. 14, 2015, photo shows Kiichiro Sato, newly appointed Asia deputy for storytelling and photography. Sato has been named deputy news director for storytelling and photography, rounding out a leadership team directing video, text and photo coverage across the Asia-Pacific region. (Paul Sakuma via AP)

BANGKOK (AP) — The Associated Press is bolstering its coverage of Asia by naming an experienced photo editor and a seasoned foreign correspondent to key leadership posts in Tokyo.

Kiichiro Sato has been named deputy news director for storytelling and photography, rounding out a leadership team directing video, text and photo coverage across the Asia-Pacific region. Sato will work in close coordination with two other Asia deputies based at the news agency's regional headquarters in Bangkok.

Foster Klug, AP's bureau chief in Seoul, South Korea, is being promoted to news director for Japan, the Koreas, Australia and the South Pacific.

In this newly created role, Klug will lead coverage of efforts by North and South Korea to improve ties amid a long-running standoff over the North's nuclear and missile ambitions, and will oversee AP's bureau in Pyongyang. He will also direct coverage of Japan as it prepares to host the 2020 Olympics, and manage staff in AP's Australia and New Zealand bureaus who cover those countries and other Pacific island nations.

Sato and Klug will report to Adam Schreck, the Asia-Pacific news director, who announced the appointments Thursday.

"Foster and Kii have years of experience handling big, breaking stories and guiding teams to produce top-notch journalism," Schreck said. "We're confident they can help take AP's Asia report to new heights."

Sato, 53, joined The Associated Press in January 2005 as administrative photo editor for Ohio. He has been based in Chicago since 2009, overseeing photo operations in 14 states.

As regional photo editor, Sato led photo coverage of President George H.W. Bush's funeral, Hurricane Harvey in Houston, and the Ferguson, Mo., police shooting protests. In 2012 and 2016, he managed election coverage at the Iowa caucuses, the Republican and Democratic national conventions, presidential debates and the presidential elections. He has been part of AP's photo team for sporting events including the Super Bowl, the World Series, the Kentucky Derby, the Final Four, the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro and the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

Sato previously was director of photography and a staff photographer at the Mobile (Ala.) Press-Register. He is a native of Yokohama, Japan, and holds bachelor of arts and master of liberal arts degrees from Spring Hill College in Mobile.

In addition to running the Seoul bureau, Klug, 45, has traveled widely to cover big stories, including the Rohingya refugee crisis in Myanmar and Bangladesh, natural disasters in Nepal, terrorism in Sri Lanka, and the summits between the leaders of the United States and North Korea in Singapore and Vietnam. He contributed to AP's award-winning team coverage of the earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan in March 2011 and the death of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il later that year.

Klug joined the AP in 2000, working as a reporter in Phoenix and Baltimore before becoming AP's first Asia correspondent in Washington in 2005. In that role, he covered issues of interest to the region across all branches of the U.S. government, reporting on topics including sanctions against North Korea, Washington's currency dispute with Beijing, and U.S. arms sales to Taiwan.

From 2010, Klug was Seoul news editor and then chief of bureau for South Korea. He has taken a lead role covering both Koreas, including the deadly bombing of a South Korean island by North Korea, the rise of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and the long-range missile and nuclear tests that followed, and the dramatic, sometimes rocky transformations in the South after decades of poverty, war, dictatorship and tensions with the North.

Klug, a second-generation AP journalist, is from New Orleans. He has a bachelor's degree from Colby College in Waterville, Maine.