WASHINGTON (Reuters) – US President Donald Trump intends to nominate businessman William Hagerty as the next US ambassador to Japan, the White House said on Thursday.
Hagerty is a Tennessee native who founded a private equity firm, Hagerty Peterson. He spent several years in Japan with the management consultancy of the Boston Consulting Group and later served in the White House of former President George HW Bush.
If her nomination is approved by the United States Congress, she will replace Caroline Kennedy, who served from 2013 until January.
Japan is a key ally of US security in Asia in the face of a rising China, and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe became the first world leader to visit Trump after his November 8 election victory. The two then held summit talks in Washington and Florida in February.
However, Trump has criticized Japan, along with China and Germany, for having large trade imbalances with the United States and has worried Tokyo by asking its allies to pay more for its defense.
Trump also disappointed Japan by withdrawing the United States from a 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact that was the main economic pillar of the “pivot” of former President Barack Obama‘s US approach to Asia.
Trump and Abe agreed last month to launch a bilateral economic dialogue, which is due to begin next month, to discuss issues such as macroeconomic policies, trade and investment in infrastructure, but friction is likely in cars and agriculture.
This month, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson visited Tokyo and stressed the importance of the alliance with Japan and working together to counter the threat posed by North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs.
Koichi Hori, president of the Dream Incubator Inc consultancy and former president of Boston Consulting in Japan, who worked with Hagerty in the early 1990s, described him to Reuters in January as a pragmatist who did not always follow Trump’s conservative line on Commerce.
Japanese companies play a key role in the United States economy, employing more than 800,000 American workers. They contributed $ 78 billion to US exports in 2014, according to US figures.
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