Obama to nominate Caroline Kennedy as ambassador to Japan
July 24th, 2013
03:54 PM ET
9 years 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. ????

    Why didn't they give her Benghazi? I heard there was an opening
    I wished I would have thought to say that. Good point.

    July 24, 2013 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  2. Rick P

    Qualllifications ????????? Politics at its finest.

    July 24, 2013 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  3. semper fi

    Why not put her somewhere in North Africa to get her feet wet.

    July 24, 2013 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  4. Just another Kennedy

    You people do realize that the ambassador position HAS ALWAYS BEEN to friends and political 'fund-raisers' right? Or are you idiots who question Obama don't even know your own country?

    July 24, 2013 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  5. Not Surprised

    Ballet and diplomacy. Those things are sooooo similar.

    July 24, 2013 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  6. sly

    Nothing gets the hating Republicans panties more in a bun than talking about a Kennedy, or about a non-White Male in the White House.

    Now we get both in one story, and the Party of Hate members are really frothing at the mouth on here.

    These are really quite amusing times for America – watching President Obama get everything he wants! Yee Haw!

    July 24, 2013 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  7. Robin Jones

    The Brits have been insulted by the appointment of Matthew Barzun, qualified only because he's a big-time Obama fund-raiser, as ambassador to their country. Seems the Brits believe ambassadors should actually know what the job is about. Fussy, those Brits.

    July 24, 2013 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  8. NamePolly

    Stupid choice!

    July 24, 2013 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  9. Pisces67

    To Pulselaser – What a sad and destructive way to think. How lucky you are to have that hate passed on to you.

    Sly – Best President in my lifetime also (1948)

    July 24, 2013 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  10. Natrldiver

    Getting tired of a family literally getting rich generation after generation off a family name. The only good Kennedy's were JFK and RFK but even they were pretty dirty in their own right. All the rest are just no-good politicians and murderers. Of course only one has gone to prison (Michael Skakel). Another political payout with no experience. Yep that is the Liberal way. Good job Barry-O.

    July 24, 2013 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  11. pingpaul@austin.rr.com

    Graduate of Harvard and Columbia universities, Caroline B. Kennedy is certainly qualified to serve in this post. She follows Tom Foley, and Walter Mondale in the post.

    July 24, 2013 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  12. BeverlyNC

    Outstanding choice. She has the intelligence and grace of her Mother and the political background and finesse of compromise and charisma of her father. She has headed up the JFK Library and her mother's foundations for years. Her work has been both domestic and abroad. She would make an excellent Ambassador. Good for her!

    July 24, 2013 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  13. Bud

    Intelligence,personality,wonderful family and looks great in a bikini at 55. A fantastic choice.

    July 24, 2013 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  14. Randy, San Francisco

    Amazing after all these years, the Kennedy name still stirs up rabid mad dog responses from extreme right wing conservatives.

    July 24, 2013 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  15. jar

    I wonder if there just going to continue to bully and intiminate the Okinawans, why are they still be treated like this. Its interesting to see how little the us gov actually cares about the human rights of these people.

    July 24, 2013 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  16. Dan

    Palin makes Dan Quayle look good. everyone forgot about Potatoe. LOL

    July 24, 2013 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  17. Ray

    Kennedy? I thought her name was Schlossberg

    July 24, 2013 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  18. woodlander2

    Caroline Kennedy was an incoherent debater during the NY Senator primary. She has a hard time completing a thought. What are the qualifications other than a big donor and a family name from the past.

    July 24, 2013 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  19. just tellin it like it is

    Dennis Rodman has more diplomatic experience than Caroline Kennedy. I guess these posts are nothing more than tax payer funded foreign boondoogles for the big campaign contributors. Party on people. Party on.

    July 24, 2013 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
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