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

Obama: Alaskans Feel Signs of Climate Change

They're seeing bigger storm surges as sea ice melts, more wildfires, erosion of glaciers, shorelines More

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

Magical Photo Slides Show Native Americans in Late 1800s

Walter McClintock spent 20 years photographing the Blackfoot Indians and their vanishing culture at the dawn of the modern age More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs