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

South Korea Divided on Response to North’s Cyber Attack

In past five years, officials in Seoul have accused Pyongyang of hacking into banks, government websites, causing chaos and inflicting millions of dollars in damages More

Video Calm Amid Fear in Daily Life in S. Sudan’s Bentiu

Residents have been trying to regain some sense of normalcy, but planning for the future remains uncertain as fear of attacks looms More

2015 Could Be Watershed for Syria Conflict

Republican control of US Senate in January could lead to more aggressive policy against IS militants in Syria - and against regime of Bashar al-Assad More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Jane Monheit Christmas Speciali
X
December 22, 2014 8:15 PM
Chanteuse Jane Monheit sings the holiday classic “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” and explains why it’s her favorite song of the season.
Video

Video Jane Monheit Christmas Special

Chanteuse Jane Monheit sings the holiday classic “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” and explains why it’s her favorite song of the season.
Video

Video Trade Talks Could Heat Up in 2015

With boosting trade a top priority for the Obama administration, 2015 may be the year that an agreement is finally reached on the Trans Pacific Partnership. But the trade deal, which is intended to boost trade between 12 Pacific countries, faces opposition as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Ugandan Doctors Aid Victims of Sudan's Civil War

In Sudan's state of South Kordofan, the number of amputees as result of civil war is in the thousands, but few have access to sufficient medical help. Adam Bailes recently visited the area and says a small team of Ugandan doctors has been providing remote help, producing new prosthetic limbs for those in need.
Video

Video Calm Amid Fear in Daily Life in S. Sudan’s Town of Bentiu

Six months ago, Bentiu was a ghost town. The capital of northern Unity State, near South Sudan’s important oil fields, had changed hands several times in fighting between government forces and rebels. Calm returned in November and since then, residents of Bentiu have been trying to regain some sense of normalcy. Bentiu’s market has reopened there are plans to start school again. But fears of new attacks hang heavy, as Benno Muchler reports from Bentiu.
Video

Video US Business Groups Press for Greater Access to Cuba

President Barack Obama's decision to do all he can to ease restrictions on U.S. trade, travel and financial activities with Cuba has drawn criticism from some conservatives and Republicans. People who bring tourists to the island and farmers who want to sell more food to Cuba, however, think they can do a lot more business with Cuba. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school

All About America

AppleAndroid