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Mr Tan Chin Tiong was appointed Director of ISEAS on 1 March 2012, and Ambassador at Large at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the same date. Prior to these appointments, he was Singapore’s Ambassador to Japan from October 2004 to January 2012.

He was Permanent Secretary in the Ministries of Home Affairs (1982–1993), Finance (1993–1995), Information and the Arts (1995–1997) and Foreign Affairs (April 1997–October 2004).  He served with the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) from 1967 to 1982, retiring as Deputy Chief of General Staff. He attended the 6th Army Staff Course, Camberley, in the UK in 1972 and the Advanced Management Programme, Stanford-INSEAD in Fountainebleau in 1981.

He studied at St Joseph’s Institution and University of Singapore, graduating in 1967 with a First in History. He was awarded the University Book Prize.