Passport

New ambassador provoking self-doubt in Japan

Funny stuff from Slate‘s Chris Beam here, in a piece about Obama’s new ambassadors: Louis Susman, a retired vice chairman of Citigroup Corporate and Investment Banking, was nominated ambassador to Britain. (Fundraising for Obama: more than $500,000.) Former financial analyst Charles Rivkin ($100,000 to $200,000) will be America’s man in Paris. And biotech lawyer John ...

Funny stuff from Slate‘s Chris Beam here, in a piece about Obama’s new ambassadors:

Louis Susman, a retired vice chairman of Citigroup Corporate and Investment Banking, was nominated ambassador to Britain. (Fundraising for Obama: more than $500,000.) Former financial analyst Charles Rivkin ($100,000 to $200,000) will be America’s man in Paris. And biotech lawyer John Roos (more than $500,000) will relocate to Tokyo. […]

No doubt the new political appointees can handle the job. Roos, as CEO of a global, technology-focused law firm, understands trade issues likely to arise in Japan. Rivkin has international experience as a member of the Pacific Council on International Policy. And Obama’s appointee to Great Britain, Louis Susman, speaks fluent English.

Heh. The truth is that there is indeed much doubt about whether Roos is the best man for the job, as the Japan Times reports:

Roos is almost unknown among U.S. and Japanese officials and experts. Because he has no diplomatic and security experience, some doubt has been raised about his qualifications at a time when North Korea’s nuclear and missile threats are mounting.

The choice of Roos, described as a "virtually unknown lawyer," is creating some angst in Tokyo:

Yoshimitsu Nishikawa, a professor of international relations at Toyo University, said the nomination is a "sign of Japan passing," and that Roos appears to lack diplomatic experience and is unlikely to be deeply knowledgeable about the Japan-U.S. relationship.

The Japanese press even has a dismissive term used to describe the Roos nomination and others like it: ronkokosho or "honoring past services," referring to the funding support Roos provided during the campaign.

See David Rothkopf’s take for more.

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