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Biden to nominate ex-Chicago mayor as U.S. amb. to Japan

  • August 21, 2021
  • , Jiji Press , 2:01 p.m.
  • English Press

Washington, Aug. 20 (Jiji Press)–U.S. President Joe Biden said Friday he plans to nominate former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel as ambassador to Japan.

 

Emanuel is known to have close relationships with core members of the Biden administration. His role as a coordinator with Japan, a key U.S. ally in Asia, will become increasingly important for the United States amid the rise of China.

 

Approval from the Senate is needed for Emanuel, 61, to take office.

 

Emanuel, a Jewish American born in Chicago, served as White House chief of staff under the administration of President Barack Obama before serving as Chicago mayor from 2011 to 2019.

 

Although Emanuel has little diplomatic experience and few links with Japan, some in the Japanese government hope that his strong connections with the power center in the Biden administration will help strengthen Tokyo’s ties with Washington.

 

Meanwhile, Emanuel’s strong-arm tactics in dealing with Congress and in campaign fundraising have given him the nickname of “Rhambo.” As Chicago mayor, he came under fire for not releasing video footage of a city policeman shooting a black boy to death.

 

As there is opposition among some Democrats to appointing him as ambassador, the Senate approval process could run into rough waters.

 

Also on Friday, Biden said he plans to nominate Nicholas Burns, former undersecretary of state for political affairs, as U.S. ambassador to China.

 

The ambassadorial post in Tokyo has been vacant since William Hagerty, now a senator, left the position in July 2019.

 

Last year, then President Donald Trump tapped Kenneth Weinstein, president of the conservative think tank Hudson Institute, for the job, but the appointment was scrapped as Trump lost the 2020 presidential election before the Senate approval of Weinstein.

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