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

    Vietnam Urges US to Lift Lethal Weapons Ban Amid S. China Sea Tensions

    US president’s upcoming visit to Vietnam underscores strength of relationship, and lifting embargo would reflect that trust, ambassador says

    What Your First Name Says About Who You Support for President

    Bobby, Betty and Curtis tend to support Donald Trump while people named Juan, Liz or Mohammad are more likely to lean toward Hillary Clinton

    South Pole Diary: In Round-the-clock Darkness, Radiant Moon Shines Like the Sun

    You hear more and see more when the moon first comes out; it’s your senses in overdrive, tuning into a new world.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroadi
    X
    May 02, 2016 1:36 PM
    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroad

    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Ethiopia’s Drought Takes Toll on Children

    Ethiopia is dealing with its worst drought in decades, thanks to El Nino weather patterns. An estimated 10 million people urgently need food aid. Six million of them are children, whose development may be compromised without sufficient help, Marthe van der Wolf reports for VOA from the Metahara district.
    Video

    Video Little Havana - a Slice of Cuban Culture in Florida

    Hispanic culture permeates everything in Miami’s Little Havana area: elderly men playing dominoes as they discuss politics, cigar rollers deep at work, or Cuban exiles talking with presidential candidates at a Cuban coffee window. With the recent rapprochement between Cuba and United States, one can only expect stronger ties between South Florida and Cuba.
    Video

    Video California Republicans Weigh Presidential Choices Amid Protests

    Republican presidential candidates have been wooing local party leaders in California, a state that could be decisive in selecting the party's nominee for U.S. president. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports delegates to the California party convention have been evaluating choices, while front-runner Donald Trump drew hundreds of raucous protesters Friday.
    Video

    Video Kurdish Football Team Helps War-Torn City Cope

    With the conflict still raging across much of Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, between the rebel PKK and the Turkish state, many Kurds are trying to escape the turmoil by focusing on the success of their football team Amedspor in Diyarbakir. The club is increasingly becoming a symbol for Kurds, not only in Diyarbakir but beyond. Dorian Jones reports from southeast Turkey.
    Video

    Video ‘The Lights of Africa’ - Through the Eyes of 54 Artists

    An exhibition bringing together the work of 54 African artists, one from each country, is touring the continent after debuting at COP21 in Paris. Called "Lumières d'Afrique," the show centers on access to electricity and, more figuratively, ideas that enlighten. Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, the exhibition's first stop.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora