After months of speculation, U.S. President Barack Obama recently nominated John V. Roos to represent the United States in Tokyo. Roos, like several American ambassadors, earned his position as a top Democratic fundraiser during the U.S. presidential campaign. As the head of a major Silicon Valley law firm, and with a long history of involvement in politics, Roos has an impressive resume of accomplishments.

Yet, many in the Japanese establishment regret that Roos is not a “heavyweight ambassador.” They point to his lack of experience in government and relative anonymity in Asia policy circles — particularly compared to Joseph Nye, the renowned Harvard University professor who was also under consideration for the ambassadorship. Further, they view Jon M. Huntsman, the dynamic governor of Utah who has been nominated to be the top diplomat in Beijing, as a sign of greater U.S. emphasis on China over Japan.

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