Caroline Kennedy, the new U.S. ambassador to Japan and daughter of slain President John F. Kennedy, leaves for Japan on Thursday to begin her work to strengthen the critical bond between the U.S. and the Asian nation.
“We just had a tea ceremony, which was a wonderful introduction to the Japanese culture,” Kennedy said Tuesday night at a reception at the Japanese ambassador’s residence.
“My husband and I and my children are so excited to be going to Japan,” she said in brief remarks to reporters. “We look forward to meeting as many people as we can, to making new friends, visiting and studying the history and culture of this beautiful country that is such a strong partner to the United States in so many important efforts.”
Kennedy, who was confirmed by the Senate last month, was nominated for the ambassador’s job by President Barack Obama after playing a role in his re-election campaign. Secretary of State John Kerry hosted a swearing-in ceremony for Kennedy on Tuesday afternoon at the State Department.
Japan is the United States’ fourth-largest trading partner and home to the Navy’s 7th Fleet and 50,000 American troops. Kennedy’s father battled Japanese forces as a Navy officer in World War II.