Sources: Nye to be named U.S. Japan envoy

Jan. 25, 2009 at 9:49 AM

TOKYO, Jan. 25 (UPI) -- Former U.S. Assistant Defense Secretary Joseph Nye has been informally designated as the next U.S. ambassador to Japan, sources say.

Nye, a Harvard University professor, has reportedly said he would accept the post and his assumption of the ambassadorship is expected to be formally decided as early as the end of this month, unnamed sources told Sunday's Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper.

Nye knows Japan well, the newspaper said. He co-authored with former U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, the "Armitage Report," which advocated a strong relationship between Japan and the United States. Nye is a proponent of the "soft power" diplomatic approach, which places importance on taking into account different cultures and values.

Sources said Nye has moved to the top of the list for U.S. ambassador to Japan after former U.S. Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., declined to accept the post when he was sounded out before the inauguration of U.S. President Barack Obama.

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