John V. Roos, U.S. Ambassador to Japan
Ambassador Roos' tenure in Tokyo comes at an historic period in U.S.-Japan relations. Shortly after his arrival, power shifted from the Liberal Democratic Party ("LDP") to the Democratic Party of Japan for essentially the first time in 50 years, and Ambassador Roos played a key role in managing the relationship through the transition. Three and a half years later, power shifted back to the LDP, and once again, Ambassador Roos was called upon to help manage a major transition of government.
On Aug. 6, 2010 he became the first U.S. official ever to attend the commemoration ceremony of the atomic bombing in Hiroshima. On Aug. 9, 2012 he also became the first U.S. Ambassador to attend the commemoration ceremony of the atomic bombing in Nagasaki.
Following the devastating 9.0 earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear crisis on March 11, 2011, Ambassador Roos helped lead the American mission to support Japan's response to the multi-dimensional and unprecedented disaster. In October 2011, citing his tireless and effective leadership after March 11, the Department of State awarded Ambassador Roos the prestigious Sue E. Cobb 2011 Award for Exemplary Diplomatic Service.
Ambassador Roos also led the creation of the TOMODACHI Initiative in the wake of the U.S. relief efforts. The initiative, which has raised millions of dollars, is a public-private partnership with the U.S.-Japan Council, a Washington DC based organization, to invest in Japan's next generation of leaders and connect them to the United States. Ambassador Roos' work with the TOMODACHI Initiative was recognized with the Special Gold Standard Award for Public Affairs Excellence in December 2012.
During his almost four years in Japan, Ambassador Roos has built relationships and established a rich and active dialogue with government leaders, businesspeople, media and students over the course of his travels across all 47 of Japan's prefectures. In addition to addressing the security, economic, and global challenges that Japan and the United States face, Ambassador Roos has drawn a specific focus on areas of cooperation that include innovation and entrepreneurship and trade issues, including Japan's announced intent to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Ambassador Roos’ work with the business sector resulted in his being recognized as the 2012 American Chamber of Commerce Japan’s Person of the Year (along with his wife Susie).
In announcing Ambassador Roos' selection as Ambassador to Japan in 2009, President Obama said, "A partnership between the United States and Japan is one of tremendous interest. The person who I thought could best do this is somebody with superb judgment, somebody with an outstanding intellect, somebody who is a very close friend of mine and a close advisor, somebody who has worked both in the private sector with cutting-edge technologies, but also is somebody who has a deep interest in public service. He is somebody who I'm confident is going to be able to help to strengthen both the regional and the global relationship between the United States and Japan." Ambassador Roos was sworn into office on Aug. 16, 2009.
Prior to his appointment, Ambassador Roos served as Chief Executive Officer and Senior Partner at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, the leading law firm in the U.S. in the representation of technology, life sciences, and emerging growth companies. There he helped lead his firm during the waves of innovation in Silicon Valley, from the growth of software and communications, to the Internet Age, to the emergence of biotechnology, clean technology and renewable energy, to the social media revolution.
Ambassador Roos grew up in San Francisco and attended Stanford University, where he graduated Phi Beta Kappa with Honors and Distinction, and Stanford Law School, earning his Juris Doctor in 1980, achieving Order of the Coif. Throughout his career, Ambassador Roos has been active in public service, serving on a public school board in California from 1991 to 1999. Prior to becoming Ambassador to Japan, Ambassador Roos served on the Stanford School of Education Dean's Advisory Board and on the Law School Dean's Advisory Council. He was elected to membership in the Stanford Associates for his long-standing volunteer service to the University. He and Susie have two children living in California, their daughter, Lauren, a nurse in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Children's Hospital of Los Angeles and a graduate student at UCLA, and their son, David, a student at Stanford.