By Momoko Kidera
As soon as he arrived at Narita Airport to take up his post as the 30th U.S. Ambassador to Japan on Aug. 17, William Hagerty held a news conference at the airport. He and his wife and four children who accompanied him were all smiles. He has been working energetically since right after his arrival, meeting with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and exchanging views with Foreign Minister Taro Kono over lunch. According to the U.S. Embassy, the Ambassador visited Meiji Shrine and the Suntory Museum of Art with his family during his first weekend in Japan.
Hagerty worked in Tokyo for three years from 1988 when he was with the Boston Consulting Group. Dream Incubator Inc. Chairman Koichi Hori, who was his supervisor at the time, said “he was gentle and honest, which made others trust him.”
Japan accounts for a majority of direct foreign investment (FDI) in the State of Tennessee, where Hagerty was Commissioner of the Department of Economic and Community Development from 2011-2015. State of Tennessee Japan Office Representative Takatsugu Yamaguchi observed that “he probably has a very good impression of Japan.” He said that Hagerty is a pragmatic man who studied Japanese business culture and closely followed developments in the business sector and was successful in using his personal connections and knowledge to attract Japanese investment.
The Trump administration is in a very unstable state as a result of Russiagate, North Korea’s development of nuclear weapons, and a string of departures of senior officials. Hagerty bears the heavy responsibility of maintaining the strong alliance relationship with Japan without being distracted by the noise around him.