For those wondering why Harvard political scientist Joe Nye--one said to be a "lock" for US Ambassador to Japan--was passed over for Silicon Valley CEO John Roos, Japan's Asahi reports:

According to sources, members of Obama's Asia-Japan experts team and the president's closest aides made the final selection of ambassador candidate.

The selection team considered sending a well-known politician, such as Walter Mondale, a former vice president and ambassador to Japan; an academic well versed in U.S.-Japan relations, such as Nye; or a political supporter or close friend to the president.

Obama's aides had pushed for someone close to the president.

The sources said the decision to base the choice on degree of closeness rather than knowledge or diplomatic experience follows the example of former President George W. Bush's appointment of Thomas Schieffer, a former business partner and close friend, as ambassador to Japan.

From a different perspective, an NRO correspondent dismisses Roos as "a fundraiser" who compares especially poorly to Obama's pick for ambassador to China, the rising-star governor of Utah, John Huntsman.

It is true that the New York Times described Roos last year as "among the earliest and biggest check collectors for Mr. Obama’s presidential bid."

--Michael Crowley