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Biden Taps Rahm Emanuel for Japan Ambassador Post

Rahm Emanuel may very well be America’s next ambassador to Japan. President Joe Biden has nominated Emanuel for the post.

Rahm Emanuel is the former Mayor of Chicago, who served from 2011 to 2019. Before that Emanuel served as President Barack Obama’s first Chief of staff. That appointment came after Emanuel had just won his fourth term as a member of the U.S. Congress. He was credited in 2006 of playing a large role in the democratic retaking of the House and Senate that year, for the first time in 12 years. Emanuel was the democratic congressional campaign chair at the time.

And before he went to the Congress, Rahm Emanuel spent a number of years serving in senior positions at the White House during Bill Clinton’s administration. So Mr. Emanuel certainly has plenty of experience in government, diplomacy and foreign affairs. But he also has a reputation for having a short temper and for being, at times, very much undiplomatic.

Last fall, Emanuel was rumored to be on the short list for a cabinet post in a Joe Biden administration. But he is a highly divisive figure and several controversies which arose in his last years in office as Mayor of Chicago could hurt his nomination. The city of Chicago’s crime rate increased under his watch and the then there was the police shooting of African-American teenager Laquan McDonald.

But the White House statement on his appointment highlighted Rahm Emanuel’s successes as mayor. These include overseeing increased economic development that revitalized the city and helped solidify its status as a global hub of culture and commerce. He “ensured Chicago was a leader on the global stage”, hosting the 2012 NATO summit, leading the continent in foreign direct investment for six consecutive years, convening mayors worldwide to commit to the Chicago Climate Charter of 2017 and helping establish the Chicago Council on Global Affairs Mayors Forum on Global Cities.

Emanuel released a statement saying, “I would proudly represent our nation with one of our most critical global allies in one of the most critical geopolitical regions. Our Ambassadors to Japan have a long history of distinguished public service from both parties and I am humbled to follow so many statesmen who have served in this role.”

Rahm Emanuel is currently national chair of the Advisory Council of Youth Guidance’s Becoming a Man (BAM) mentoring program. He graduated with a B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College and an M.A. from Northwestern University.

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