The new United States ambassador to Japan, Caroline Kennedy, met Emperor Akihito for a brief ceremony at the Imperial Palace on Tuesday, signaling the official start of her term as the envoy from Japan’s closest ally. The 55-year-old Kennedy, the only surviving child of the late U.S. President John F. Kennedy was greeted by well-wishers on her way to meeting the emperor, in an extraordinary display of affection for a foreign dignitary.
Traveling in the traditional horse-drawn carriage and accompanied by officials from the Imperial Household Agency, Kennedy witnessed cheering spectators, some shouting “Kennedy-san! Kennedy-san!” at her as the procession made its way to the palace. She waved at the crowd, some of whom were huge fans of her father and her mother, the iconic Jacqueline Kennedy, from inside the carriage, wearing a simple black dress and pearl necklace. Upon her arrival, she handed to the emperor a letter signed by U.S. President Barack Obama, which is a common diplomatic gesture from newly appointed ambassadors. “I just was honored to present my credentials to his majesty and I’m eager to begin my work as ambassador,” she told the press afterwards, stating she is honored to represent her country.
Kennedy is the first woman to be appointed to this prestigious position and her new position has drawn a significant amount of coverage in Japan. Despite having no diplomatic and political experience, her nomination and subsequent confirmation came off without a hitch. The ambassadorship to Japan is an important position, given that the country plays a huge role in the U.S.‘ pivot towards Asia. Kennedy’s confirmation also came just a few days before the 50th anniversary of her father’s assassination on November 22.
[ via Yahoo ]