Obama to nominate Caroline Kennedy as ambassador to Japan
July 24th, 2013
03:54 PM ET
1 year ago

Obama to nominate Caroline Kennedy as ambassador to Japan

Updated 5:14 p.m. ET on 7/24

(CNN) – Caroline Kennedy, the daughter of former President John F. Kennedy and a prominent Democratic backer, was nominated by President Barack Obama Wednesday to serve as U.S. ambassador to Japan.

She would become the first woman to hold the post if she's confirmed by the U.S. Senate. A top supporter of Obama's, she served as the co-chair of his vice presidential search committee in 2008.

CNN first reported in April that Kennedy had been asked to serve as ambassador and was being vetted for the role.

She's the only surviving member of JFK's immediate family and has largely shunned the limelight and scrutiny associated with her famous last name. After publicly expressing interest in running for the U.S. Senate seat in New York vacated when Hillary Clinton became secretary of state in 2009, she ultimately decided against making a bid, citing "personal reasons."

She made speeches at the 2008 and 2012 Democratic National Conventions, both times recalling her famous relatives – in 2008, her speech served as a tribute to her uncle, Sen. Ted Kennedy, and in 2012 she noted that "like my father's election in 1960, this is one of those elections where the future of our country is at stake."

After receiving degrees at Harvard and Columbia, Kennedy served in a variety of roles at New York non-profits, including the John F. Kennedy Library and the American Ballet Theatre.

The current U.S. ambassador to Japan is John Roos, who assumed the role in 2009. He was the first American ambassador to attend commemoration ceremonies for the American atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. He also led America's embassy through the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, and the ensuing nuclear aftermath.

The United States is Japan's largest economic partner as well as a military ally. The U.S. military presence on Japan's Okinawa Island has remained a point of diplomatic tension between the two nations. Some of the island's residents have complained about noise from the base, in an urban area. Many others were incensed by the misconduct of U.S. troops stationed there, including the 1995 rape of 12-year-old Japanese girl by three U.S. military personnel.

Opposition to the presence of U.S. troops in Okinawa runs so deep that it contributed to the resignation of former Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama in 2010. He had promised to move the base but later announced that the base would stay, a decision he called "heartbreaking."


Filed under: Caroline Kennedy
soundoff (94 Responses)
  1. Really?

    Really, another unqualified government official? She knows little more than fundraising. and she's a Kennedy. Were there no homeless people available to take this job?

    July 24, 2013 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  2. Gurgyl

    Why don't they nominate a wise unemployed youth??? There are lot of them in USA.

    July 24, 2013 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  3. Rudy NYC

    Good for her. Builds her bona fides.

    July 24, 2013 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  4. b2ux

    not a bad idea at all while not the best for the job i believe she will do a good job and lets be honest its nice to see a kennedy name back in goverment...

    July 24, 2013 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  5. PureNonSense

    Definitely qualified, she used to be a Kennedy. That all that matters.

    What has she done again?

    July 24, 2013 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  6. essmeier

    Won't be long before the Republicans pitch a fit about this. Not for any reason; just because it's a day, and President Obama did something.

    July 24, 2013 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  7. dale gribble

    Awful idea. She is not qualified in any way and almost certainly a communist traitor. The Senate should take every step to block this travesty. America needs White Christian American ambassadors.

    July 24, 2013 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  8. tom l.

    She must have been a pretty big contributor to Obama's campaign to get that position...

    July 24, 2013 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  9. Chad

    Chelsea Clinton as Ambassador to Libya?

    No? Wonder why.

    July 24, 2013 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  10. doctorstrangeluv

    Carolyn Kennedy ... a beautiful, intelligent, educated, accomplished, articulate person who has unselfishly dedicated her life to the service of others ... I would love to see this Kennedy's name on a presidential ballot in my lifetime

    July 24, 2013 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  11. John

    Nepotism and politics...it's not what you know, it's who you know...or in this case, who you came from.

    July 24, 2013 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  12. nilla

    Queue the Neil Diamond jokes!

    July 24, 2013 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  13. Kelly Kent-Parcell

    Cant the United States get along with anyone?

    July 24, 2013 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  14. Ned Stark

    Wonder how she got that job?

    July 24, 2013 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  15. Booger

    Okay sounds good to me.

    July 24, 2013 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  16. Freedom Not Feds

    I guess there isn't anyone with any qualifications for the job whatsoever in the entire country. When will people revolt against this corrupt government?

    July 24, 2013 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  17. yogi

    Great choice!

    July 24, 2013 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  18. Joe

    Congratulations !!! She will be excellent.

    July 24, 2013 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  19. ????

    Umm.. Is..Obama... you know....umm ...serious?

    July 24, 2013 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  20. Paul

    Who cares? The farther away the better.

    July 24, 2013 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  21. J

    What? she has no experience! I would think a more experienced diplomat might be better.

    July 24, 2013 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  22. davenyusa

    And her credentials?
    Yup, ZERO!

    July 24, 2013 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  23. mainesrd

    I wonder if Christopher Stevens would have accepted his nomination to be ambassador?

    July 24, 2013 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  24. California Gary

    She would be a fine representative for us........but I'm hoping this would just be a stepping stone for her to enter into the public arena. She comes from good stock........would probably make an excellent number 2 on the Dem ticket for 2016.

    July 24, 2013 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  25. James

    Kennedy's are worst than Obama's !

    July 24, 2013 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
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