News / Asia

Kennedy Arrives in Japan to Serve as Ambassador

New U.S. Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy gives a statement shortly after her arrival in Japan at the Narita International Airport in Narita, east of Tokyo, Friday, Nov. 15, 2013.
New U.S. Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy gives a statement shortly after her arrival in Japan at the Narita International Airport in Narita, east of Tokyo, Friday, Nov. 15, 2013.
VOA News
Caroline Kennedy arrived in Tokyo on Friday to begin serving as the new U.S. ambassador to Japan.
The 55-year-old daughter of late president John F. Kennedy is the first U.S. female ambassador to Japan.
Kennedy spoke of her father as she began her diplomatic career.
"I am also proud to carry forward my father's legacy of public service.  He had hoped to be the first United States president to visit Japan, so it is a special honor for me to be able to work to strengthen the close ties between our two great countries," said Kennedy.
Kennedy will be formally sworn in as ambassador next week during a ceremony at the Imperial Palace.
The posting will be Kennedy’s first high profile job in public office, making a late start to a political career for which her family is renowned.
The 55-year-old lawyer takes up the post a week before the 50th anniversary of her father's assassination.
Kennedy was an early and prominent supporter of Barack Obama in his initial quest for the presidency in 2008, and also campaigned on his behalf.
Kennedy worked briefly for education authorities in New York, and contemplated, but later abandoned, a run for a New York Senate seat in 2009.
In a video greeting to the people of Japan released on the internet on Wednesday, Kennedy said she had studied Japanese art and history, and made several trips to Japan, including a visit to Hiroshima - where the first atomic bomb was dropped - when she was 20.
“It left me with a profound desire to work for a better, more peaceful world,” she said, adding that she had also visited Japan on her honeymoon.
Though Caroline's father visited Japan once in 1951, he never visited the country in the nearly three years that he was president - a sharp contrast to the present, when most presidents visit within months of taking office.
Despite this, President Kennedy was popular in Japan; his youth appealed to an economically booming and newly confident Japan as it prepared to host the Summer Olympic Games in 1964.
A state visit had been planned for January 1964, and an advance team, including then-Secretary of State Dean Rusk, was in the air and en route to Tokyo for talks when Kennedy was shot and killed in Dallas, Texas, on Nov. 22, 1963. The plane turned around over the Pacific and headed back.
Previous ambassadors to Japan have included political heavyweights such as former Vice President Walter Mondale, but Japan welcomed Kennedy's nomination since they felt her closeness to Obama would be an advantage.
“The Japanese people feel closest to her father of all presidents, and in that sense I'd like to offer my hearty welcome,” said chief cabinet spokesman Yoshihide Suga at a news conference on Friday.
“I think she's a wonderful ambassador to develop the Japan-U.S. relationship further, as she is said to be able to talk directly with the president by phone,” continued Suga.
Caroline is the only surviving child of President Kennedy and his wife, Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy. Her brother John F. Kennedy, Jr., died in a 1999 plane crash. An older sister was stillborn and another brother died within days of his premature birth while Kennedy was president.
Some information in this report was contributed by Reuters.

You May Like

Video Americans, Tourists, Reflect on Meaning of Thanksgiving

VOA garnered opinions from several people soon after November 13 Paris attacks, which colored many of their thoughts

Video Thais Send Security Concerns Down the River

In northern Thailand, the annual tradition of constructing floating baskets to carry away the year’s bad spirits highlights the Loy Krathong festival

Video Tree Houses - A Branch of American Dream

Workshops aimed at teaching people how to build tree houses have become widely popular in America in recent years

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continuesi
Ayesha Tanzeem
November 25, 2015 10:46 PM
One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continues

One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against IS

The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Americans Sharpen Focus on Terrorism

Washington will be quieter than usual this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, even as Americans across the nation register heightened concerns over possible terrorist threats. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports new polling data from ABC News and the Washington Post newspaper show an electorate increasingly focused on security issues after the deadly Islamic State attacks in Paris.

Video World Leaders Head to Paris for Climate Deal

Heads of state from nearly 80 countries are heading to Paris (November 30-December 11) to craft a global climate change agreement. The new accord will replace the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change that expired in 2012.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

Video Creating Physical Virtual Reality With Tiny Drones

As many computer gamers know, virtual reality is a three-dimensional picture, projected inside special googles. It can fool your brain into thinking the computer world is the real world. But If you try to touch it, it’s not there. Now Canadian researchers say it may be possible to create a physical virtual reality using tiny drones. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video New American Indian Village Takes Visitors Back in Time

There is precious little opportunity to experience what life was like in the United States before its colonization by European settlers. Now, an American Indian village built in a park outside Washington is taking visitors back in time to experience the way of life of America's indigenous people. Carol Pearson narrates this report from VOA's June Soh.

Video Even With Hometown Liberated, Yazidi Refugees Fear Return

While the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar has been liberated from Islamic State forces, it's not clear whether Yazidi residents who fled the militants will now return home. VOA’s Mahmut Bozarslan talked with Yazidis, a religious and ethnic minority, at a Turkish refugee camp in Diyarbakır. Robert Raffaele narrates his report.

Video Nairobi Tailors Make Pope Francis’ Vestments

To ensure the pope is properly attired during his visit, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops asked the Dolly Craft Sewing Project in the Nairobi slum of Kangemi to make the pope's vestments, the garments he will wear during the various ceremonies. Jill Craig reports.

Video Cross-Border Terrorism Puts Europe’s Passport-Free Travel in Doubt

The fallout from the Islamic State terror attacks in Paris has put the future of Europe’s passport-free travel area, known as the "Schengen Zone," in doubt. Several of the perpetrators were known to intelligence agencies, but were not intercepted. Henry Ridgwell reports from London European ministers are to hold an emergency meeting Friday in Brussels to look at ways of improving security.

Video El Niño Brings Unexpected Fish From Mexico to California

Fish in an unexpected spectrum of sizes, shapes and colors are moving north, through El Niño's warm currents from Mexican waters to the Pacific Ocean off California’s coast. El Nino is the periodic warming of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this phenomenon thrills scientists and gives anglers the chance of a once-in-a-lifetime big catch. Faith Lapidus narrates.

Video Terrorism in Many Forms Continues to Plague Africa

While the world's attention is on Paris in the wake of Friday night's deadly attacks, terrorism from various sides remains a looming threat in many African countries. Nigerian cities have been targeted this week by attacks many believe were staged by the violent Islamist group Boko Haram. In addition, residents in many regions are forced to flee their homes as they are terrorized by armed militias. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Study: Underage Marriage Rate Higher for Females in Pakistan

While attitudes about the societal role of females in Pakistan are evolving, research by child advocacy group Plan International suggests that underage marriage of girls remains a particularly big issue in the country. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports how such marriages leads to further social problems.

VOA Blogs