50 years after JFK's death, daughter takes public office in Tokyo

Fri Nov 15, 2013 4:39am EST
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By Elaine Lies

TOKYO (Reuters) - Caroline Kennedy, daughter of slain U.S. President John F. Kennedy, arrived in Japan on Friday to take up her first high profile job in public office, making a late start to a political career for which her family is renowned.

Kennedy, sworn in as U.S. ambassador two days ago, received a warm welcome at Tokyo's Narita Airport, smiling and waving at reporters, and carrying a bouquet of flowers.

The 55-year-old lawyer takes up the post a week before the 50th anniversary of her father's assassination.

Kennedy, the first female U.S. ambassador to Japan, was an early and prominent supporter of Barack Obama in his initial quest for the presidency in 2008, and also campaigned for him.

"I bring greetings from President Obama ... I am honored to represent him as the United States ambassador," she said. "I am also proud to carry forward my father's legacy of public service."

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.   Continued...

Newly appointed U.S. ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy gives a statement shortly after her arrival in Japan at Narita International Airport in Narita, suburban Tokyo November 15, 2013. REUTERS/Koji Sasahara/Pool