May 11, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Biden to pick Rahm Emanuel as U.S. ambassador to Japan

Picture of Rahm Emanuel
Rahm Emanuel. Photo: Michael Loccisano/Getty Images

President Biden plans to nominate Rahm Emanuel, former President Obama's chief of staff, as U.S. ambassador to Japan, the Financial Times first reported and Axios has confirmed.

The state of play: Biden plans to announce the nomination later this month, along with a slew of other ambassadorship nominations, per FT.

  • There were months of speculation around whether Emanuel would be nominated for an administration role. He was reported to be in contention for transportation secretary.
  • Emanuel served as a congressman for Illinois between 2003 and 2009 and mayor of Chicago from 2011 to 2019. He opted not to run for a third mayoral term following harsh criticism of his handling of the police shooting of Laquan McDonald, a Black teenager, in Chicago in 2014, per The Guardian.

The big picture: The relationship between the U.S. and Japan has been a focal point of the administration. Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga was the first foreign leader to meet with Biden in person.

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