WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump said Friday that he intends to nominate Kenneth Weinstein, head of Washington-based conservative think tank the Hudson Institute, as U.S. ambassador to Japan.
The post has been vacant since William Hagerty stepped down in July last year to run for the Senate. The nomination of the 58-year-old expert on East Asia requires Senate approval.
Weinstein is believed to have close ties with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, with the two meeting multiple times in Japan.
The Hudson Institute, founded in 1961, has strong ties with the Trump administration, with Vice President Mike Pence choosing it as a venue to deliver a speech on China policy in 2018.
Weinstein joined the think tank in 1991. He was appointed CEO in 2005 and named president and CEO in 2011. He also speaks French and German, according to the institute’s website.
Joseph Young, previously deputy chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo, has been serving as the interim charge d’affaires since Hagerty’s departure.