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. Public Servant???

    Can someone explain to me her qualifications for such a post? Does working for the American Ballet Theater qualify you to be the ambassador for America's largest economic ally? The rich getting richer...

    July 24, 2013 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  2. Anonymous

    A socialite with no diplomatic experience. What's Obama thinking?

    July 24, 2013 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  3. Brad

    It's about time the U.S. reinstated it's Monarchy. LONG LIVE THE QUEEN!

    July 24, 2013 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  4. oddjob3422

    It's, you know, a pretty, you know, good choice, you know, because, you know, it, you know, will be very, you know, positive to get, you know, a, you know, Kennedy, you know, back into office, you know, because, you know, since Ted left the, you know, Senate, you know, it has been very, you know, less than good, you know?

    July 24, 2013 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  5. pulselaser

    My dad always told me that the only good Kennedy is a dead Kennedy. The whole family was corrupt and now we have to deal with another corrupt Kennedy.

    July 24, 2013 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  6. EmmaJames

    Caroline, you know, finally got, you know, payback, you know, even thou, you know, she had to, you know, wait six, you know, years.

    Hope she knows how to speak the equivalent of "you know"

    July 24, 2013 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  7. davecu

    How much $$$ did THAT cost here?
    What are her bonifides?

    July 24, 2013 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  8. Steve

    Why not Benghazi??

    July 24, 2013 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  9. Lardoggy

    I only wish and pray the Kennedy's would just go away and never come back!

    July 24, 2013 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  10. Midwest Good Sense

    A socialite with no diplomatic experience. What's Obama thinking?

    July 24, 2013 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  11. Jane

    Caroline Kennedy. God Bless you. The Kennedy name will live forever in American History.

    July 24, 2013 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  12. Jerre

    Just because she has the Kennedy name doesn't make her qualified. Bad choice. Must have been payback time.

    July 24, 2013 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  13. Ctrygrl

    Really can't wait for the confirmation hearing, wonder what dirt the republicans will try to smear her with.

    July 24, 2013 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  14. cbp

    Interesting how the negativity attached to Ms. Kennedy before she has a chance to tell us what she will and can do.

    It is becoming increasing clear that the comments sections are filled with negativity and without actual information. It is easy to write these comments and in many cases, to show such bias when talking about people in the news or those who serve in the government.

    July 24, 2013 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  15. sly

    "Obama is the worst president in my lifetime. I was born in 1951."
    That's funny, I was born in 58 and President Obama is the best president in my lifetime.

    He killed America's biggest enemy of all time.
    He ended TWO Bush Oil Wars
    He's prevented ANY major terrorist attack in 8 years.
    He has the stock market sizzlin' at near 20,000.
    He has ended Federal discrimination on the basis of preference.
    He has given 38 MILLION of our fellow citizens health care.

    Most importantly:

    He has ended over 200 years of Rich White Men Rule of America.

    Good times Americans!

    July 24, 2013 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  16. radmagma

    A person who allegedly never voted in any election.

    July 24, 2013 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  17. Tom

    Will the Republicans in the Senate approve this nomination or attempt another filibuster? Personally I don't see anything wrong with this nomination. Caroline Kennedy is more qualified than most ambassadors. But she is a Kennedy and will that be unacceptable to Republicans? It seems to set up another potentially damaging situation for Republicans - approve a candidate that many party members hate, or wage yet another ridiculous obstructionist battle that most voters will see as being petty and mean? Either way, it probably drives a deeper wedge in the Republican party and Kennedy will probably be approved in the end.

    July 24, 2013 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  18. leah

    Excellent pick.

    July 24, 2013 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  19. Ron

    He has not been responsible for any of those so called accomplishments.

    July 24, 2013 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  20. Sal Voce

    Clearly o'bummer still isn't thinking....

    July 24, 2013 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  21. roger

    Why didn't they give her Benghazi? I heard there was an opening.

    July 24, 2013 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  22. Anonymous

    I don't suppose she'll be apologizing for Hiroshima....or will she?

    July 24, 2013 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  23. Portland tony

    She will make a good ambassador! At the risk of poking fun at some commenters, all major ambassadors, with few exceptions, are appointed, by the President in power, for being either a large fund raiser or political ally. Granted some come up through the ranks with experience in foreign service and language capabilities such as the late Christopher Stevens who had extensive experience in Libya working with the post Qaddafi leadership and local politicians.

    July 24, 2013 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  24. Brian R

    I don't suppose she'll be apologizing for Hiroshima....or will she? I cannot think of one bad thing to say about her, on the other hand I cannot think of one thing that makes her qualified either.

    July 24, 2013 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  25. truth in journalism

    Thats how this country works. Its who you know (and who knows you) thats important here.

    July 24, 2013 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
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