WASHINGTON — The Senate on July 13 voted to confirm William Francis Hagerty IV of Tennessee as the next U.S. ambassador to Japan.
He was approved by a vote of 86 to 12, with two not voting.
The post has been vacant since the departure of Obama appointee Caroline Kennedy in January.
State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said, “We are looking forward to having him join Japan as our next U.S. ambassador. He spent a good deal of time over there. I know he’s steeped in the issues.”
The U.S. Embassy in Tokyo said that it “congratulates him and his family, and looks forward to his arrival.”
“The Japanese government welcomes the approval of Mr. Hagerty, who is highly trusted by President Trump, as the U.S. ambassador to Japan,” said Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida. “Upon learning of the approval, I sent a message of congratulations to Ambassador Hagerty that expressed Japan’s commitment to the Japan-U.S. alliance as the cornerstone of its foreign diplomacy and security and resolve to further strengthen the unwavering bond between Japan and the U.S.
“I look forward to the prompt arrival of Ambassador Hagerty to take up his post in Japan and working together to further strengthen the Japan-U.S. alliance.”
Hagerty, 57, began his career with the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) in 1984 as an international management consultant and spent three years in Japan managing BCG’s business with Western clients throughout Japan and Asia.
In 1991, during the administration of President George H.W. Bush, Hagerty moved to Washington, D.C. to work as a White House fellow reporting to Vice President Dan Quayle and focusing on international trade, commerce, treasury, defense, and telecom. He returned to the private sector in 1993 and served as CEO and board member of companies with extensive operations in Asia and Europe.
From 2011 to 2015, Hagerty served in the Cabinet of Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam as secretary for trade and commerce. According to the White House, during his tenure, Tennessee was the top state for jobs and economic growth from 2013 to 2015 and led the nation in foreign direct investment, 60 percent of which came from Japanese companies such as Nissan Motor Co. and Bridgestone Corp.
Hagerty also worked for the 2012 presidential campaign of Republican nominee Mitt Romney.
Hagerty has BS and JD degrees from Vanderbilt University in Nashville. He and his wife, Chrissy, have four children.