Go to contents

Pres. Obama’s Confidant Named US Amb. to Japan

Posted May. 21, 2009 07:17,   


The Japanese daily Asahi Shimbun said yesterday that U.S. President Barack Obama’s close friend John Roos (picture), will fill the vacant post of U.S. ambassador to Japan.

Roos, 54, heads a company that coordinates M&As if information technology companies in Silicon Valley, and has been a supporter of President Obama for a long time.

Harvard University professor Joseph Nye, who had been considered a leading contender for the post, was apparently sidelined by Roos in the final stage of the personnel decision.

Asahi said Washington told Tokyo Tuesday of Roos` appointment and will officially announce the decision after getting a reply from the Japanese government. Roos will be formally appointed after getting Senate approval.

A Stanford Law School graduate, Roos backed Obama even before the former Illinois senator decided to run for president by holding a fundraiser at his home.

The New York Times said in August last year that Roos was one of the biggest fundraisers in the Obama camp. His homepage says his specialty is corporate finance and corporate law and mentioned his experience working in Israel.

Roos` homepage, however, did not say if he can speak a foreign language.

The New York Times said the selection of U.S. ambassador to Japan was made by the Obama administration’s Asia expert group and a group of his confidants. They categorized all the candidates into three groups: renowned politicians like former vice president and former U.S. ambassador to Japan Walter Mondale; scholars versed in U.S.-Japan relations like Nye; and President Obama’s supporters or confidants like former U.S. Ambassador to Japan Thomas Schieffer.

The newspaper said Roos lacks knowledge and experience with Japan and that certain U.S. diplomats were puzzled over his selection, but said he can play the role of ambassador based on the strong trust of the president.