President Joe Biden on Friday announced his intent to nominate former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel as Ambassador to Japan and revealed his selections for two other key ambassador posts.
Speculation about Emanuel's potential nomination had been swirling for months as reports surfaced that the president was considering Emanuel for a high-profile position, potentially ambassador to China or Japan.
In a statement revealing his nominations, Biden referred to Emanuel as an individual with "distinguished public service," who, as mayor of Chicago, "oversaw increased economic development that revitalized the city" and ensured Chicago "was a leader on the global stage."
In May, three administration officials confirmed that the president had decided on his picks for ambassadorships to China, Japan and India, and that Emanuel had been offered the role of Ambassador to Japan. At the time, announcements were expected to take place in the following weeks as the president was preparing his first overseas trip.
In a statement Friday, Emanuel said he's honored by the nomination and would "proudly represent our nation with one of our most critical global allies in one of the most critical geopolitical regions."
"The alliance between the United States and Japan is the cornerstone of peace and prosperity in a free and open Indo-Pacific..." he said, in part. "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. I look forward to discussing my nomination with the members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and, if confirmed, to serving the United States of America."
Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin, the Senate Majority Whip, said that Emanuel "has a lifetime of public service preparing him to speak for America."
"Japan is an important strategic partner in Asia, particularly in light of our continued challenges from China," he added. "I will do all I can to help Rahm become America’s voice in Japan."
R. Nicholas Burns, a career diplomat who previously served as the Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs and worked in both the Clinton and George W. Bush administrations, will be nominated as Ambassador to China, according to the White House. President Biden will also nominate Dr. Michael Battle, who once worked at the Bureau of African Affairs at the U.S. Department of State, as Ambassador of Tanzania.