Caroline Kennedy, the daughter of John F. Kennedy and one of United States President Barack Obama’s most prominent supporters, was sworn in on Tuesday as the United States ambassador to Japan. The swearing-in ceremony was held in Secretary of State John Kerry’s outer office on the seventh floor of the State Department and was off-limits to the media. Kennedy, 55, is a lawyer and an author who has served as director of a number of nonprofit organizations, but has never worked in government and has no special expertise in Japan. She is set to leave for Japan on Thursday.
Kennedy is then scheduled to present her credentials to Emperor Akihito on Nov. 19, as revealed by a Japanese government source on Tuesday, thus marking the formal start of her duty as U.S. ambassador to Japan. The Japanese government is banking on Kennedy’s close ties with the Obama administration to improve relations between Tokyo and Washington, the source said. With that in mind, the Japanese government is keen to arrange the first meeting between her and Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe as soon as possible, the government source added.
For next week’s ceremony, Kennedy will arrive at the Japanese Imperial Palace in a horse-drawn carriage arranged by the Imperial Household Agency. Kennedy is the first female U.S. envoy to Japan, and she will be dealing with issues such as the realignment of U.S. military forces in Japan, especially the contentious relocation of the Futenma base within Okinawa. At her confirmation hearing, Kennedy said that she first visited Japan in 1978 with her uncle, Senator Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts. “This appointment has a special significance as we commemorate the 50th anniversary of my father’s presidency,” she said. “I am conscious of my responsibility to uphold the ideals he represented: a deep commitment to public service, a more just America and a more peaceful world.”
[via New York Times]