Japanese foreign minister pledges cooperation with US Ambassador Kennedy

Japan Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida vowed to work closely with newly appointed US Ambassador Caroline Kennedy to strengthen bilateral relations between the defense allies.

Kishida told US Secretary of State John Kerry over the telephone that Kennedy’s arrival in Tokyo has been “very much welcomed.”

The two also discussed issues both faced by their countries such as Iran’s nuclear capabilities, which they believe would be best addressed through close cooperation, according to the Foreign Ministry.

They discussed their countries’ coordinated disaster-relief response to the typhoon-ravaged Philippines. The US has pledged more than $10 million in aid and mobilized about 50 US ships and aircraft carriers, including the Boeing C-17 cargo plane, to assist relief efforts in hard to reach areas in central Philippines.

In addition to aid worth $30 million, Japan has sent a medical team of 25 doctors, nurses and pharmacists to hard-hit Tacloban city. The Asian nation promised to send up to 1,000 SDF troops and two Japanese warships.

Kennedy arrived in Tokyo on Friday and spent her first day in office meeting with officials at the Japanese Foreign Ministry.

“I bring greetings from President Obama,” Kennedy said in a short statement after getting off the plane with her husband Edwin Schlossberg at Narita airport.

“I am also proud to carry forward my father’s legacy of public service,” said Kennedy, the sole surviving child of assassinated US President John F. Kennedy.

“He had hoped to be the first US president to visit Japan. So it is a special honor for me to be able to work to strengthen the close ties between our two great countries.”

Kennedy is playing a pivotal role as the new envoy to Japan, a key US ally. She is also the first woman to serve as ambassador to Japan, and could serve as something of a role model to women in Japan. Yesterday, huge crowds awaited her as she made her way in a horse-drawn carriage to present her credentials to the Emperor, giving proof that the Kennedy mystique has its power here as well.

By Maesie Bertumen

Image: studio08denver/Flickr

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