I previously reported that Joseph Nye was picked to become US Ambassador to Japan. Is he holding out for something better?

The Asahi Shimbun reported on Feb. 8 that “the United States has decided” informally to appoint Harvard University Prof. Joseph Nye as ambassador to Japan. However, the White House has yet to announce anything about it, even though one month has passed.

“If the White House has really internally decided, it would have been formally announced in a few days,” said Western informed source. Therefore, there must have been some kind of unusual change.The informed source continued:

“It’s safe to say that President Barack Obama singled Nye out for the ambassadorial post in Japan. But Nye is hesitating to accept the offer because Nye’s first choice is to be ambassador to India.”

Nye has a strong interest in the nuclear proliferation issue.

The informed source remarked:

“Since Iran has nuclear-weapons development program, there is concern that Arab countries, too, will want to possess nuclear weapons. But the countries over which tensions are highest are India and Pakistan, both of which possess nuclear weapons. Al-Qaeda and the Taliban have concentrated their activities in Afghanistan and Pakistan. It is said that one of Al-Qaeda’s targets is Pakistan’s nuclear weapons. India suspects that Pakistan’s secret police were involved in last year’s terrorist attack in Mumbai, so it might retaliate against Pakistan. The region is in a dangerous situation, and Nye wants to demonstrate his capabilities in India.”

A Japanese foreign policy specialist said:

“He probably thinks that the post of ambassador to Japan would be uninteresting. That is because Japan does nothing in terms of diplomacy. Although Japan puts policy pressure on America, arguing that the issue of North Korea’s abductions of Japanese citizens is more important than the nuclear issue, it has never come up with its own policy or strategy to resolve that issue. Japan simply entrusted the abduction issue to [former] Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill.”

The informed source said: “According to one of Nye’s acquaintances, he is finding it hard to give up his position at Harvard University. He is agonizing over which to choose: Tokyo, Delhi, or Boston.”

Reportedly the ambassadorial appointments are usually decided in June.

A diplomatic journalist said:

“The appointments of Mondale and Foley were decided in July. It was exceptional that Ambassador Schieffer was appointed (on Jan. 21) a day after the presidential inauguration. This was because Schieffer was a partner with President Bush as owners of a Major League baseball club.”

If Nye becomes the U.S. ambassador to Japan, he will be an “academic ambassador” following Ambassador Reischauer. Which city will Nye choose?