TOPCaroline Kennedy approved as US ambassador to Japan

Caroline Kennedy approved as US ambassador to Japan

By Alec Jordan

Former first daughter Caroline Kennedy won the US Senate’s unanimous vote to become the official envoy to Japan.

On the day Congress voted to end a government shutdown and raise the debt ceiling, the Senate gave the final nod to Kennedy as the new US ambassador to Japan.

Kennedy, the sole surviving child of assassinated President John F. Kennedy, was nominated for the post by President Barack Obama after assisting in his 2012 re-election bid.

She encountered no opposition at her confirmation hearing last month before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. She also promised to carry forward her father’s legacy, saying the late patriarch of one of America’s most influential familes had hoped to visit Japan.

“I would be humbled to carry forward his legacy in a small way and represent the powerful bonds that unite our two democratic societies,” Kennedy told the committee.

Kennedy said she also hoped to highlight her role as the first female US ambassador to Japan.

Japan is the US’ fourth-largest trading partner and home to the Navy’s 7th Fleet and 50,000 American troops.

Japan welcomed Kennedy’s appointment and said it hopes she could serve as a bridge in Japan-US bilateral relations.

“We hope she will assume the post soon and play an active role in various fields,” Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiroshige Seko was quoted as saying by Xinhua during a press conference in Tokyo.

By Maesie Bertumen

Image of Caroline Kennedy speaking at the AFL-CIO in 2009: Bill Burke/Page One/Creative Commons