Late starter Kennedy wel­comed as Ja­pan’s US am­bas­sador

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - WORLD -

TOKYO: Caro­line Kennedy, daugh­ter of slain US Pres­i­dent John F Kennedy, ar­rived in Ja­pan yes­ter­day to take up her first high-pro­file job in pub­lic of­fice, mak­ing a late start to a po­lit­i­cal ca­reer for which her fam­ily is renowned.

Kennedy, sworn in as US am­bas­sador two days ago, re­ceived a warm wel­come at Tokyo’s Narita Air­port, smil­ing and wav­ing at re­porters and car­ry­ing a bou­quet of flow­ers.

The 55-year-old lawyer takes up the post a week be­fore the 50th an­niver­sary of her fa­ther’s as­sas­si­na­tion.

Kennedy, the first woman US am­bas­sador to Ja­pan, was an early and prom­i­nent sup­porter of Barack Obama in his quest for the pres­i­dency in 2008, and cam­paigned for him.

“I bring greet­ings from Pres­i­dent Obama… I am hon­oured to rep­re­sent him as the United States am­bas­sador,” she said. “I am also proud to carry for­ward my fa­ther’s legacy of pub­lic ser­vice.”

Kennedy worked briefly for ed­u­ca­tion au­thor­i­ties in New York, and con­tem­plated, but later aban­doned, a run for a New York Se­nate seat in 2009.

In a video greet­ing to the peo­ple of Ja­pan re­leased on the in­ter­net on Wed­nes­day, Kennedy said she had stud­ied Ja­panese art and his­tory, and made sev­eral trips to Ja­pan, in­clud­ing a visit to Hiroshima – where the first atomic bomb was dropped – when she was 20.

“It left me with a pro­found de­sire to work for a bet­ter, more peace­ful world,” she said, adding that she had also vis­ited Ja­pan on her hon­ey­moon.

Though Caro­line’s fa­ther vis­ited Ja­pan once in 1951, he never vis­ited the coun­try in the nearly three years that he was pres­i­dent, a sharp con­trast to the present, when most presi- dents visit within months of tak­ing of­fice.

De­spite this, Pres­i­dent Kennedy was pop­u­lar, his youth ap­peal­ing to an eco­nom­i­cally boom­ing Ja­pan as it pre­pared to host the Sum­mer Olympic Games in 1964.

A state visit was planned for Jan­uary 1964, and an ad­vance team, in­clud­ing then-Sec­re­tary of State Dean Rusk, was in the air en route to Tokyo for talks when Kennedy was shot and killed in Dal­las, Texas, on Novem­ber 22, 1963. The plane turned around in mid-Pa­cific and headed back.

Ja­pan wel­comed Kennedy’s nom­i­na­tion since they felt her close­ness to Obama would be an ad­van­tage.

“The Ja­panese peo­ple feel clos­est to her fa­ther of all pres­i­dents, and in that sense I’d like to of­fer my hearty wel­come,” said cab­i­net spokesman Yoshi­hide Suga yes­ter­day. – Reuters

Re­n­amo kills 10

MA­PUTO: Sus­pected Re­n­amo ex-rebels am­bushed a con­voy of cars yes­ter­day killing one per­son and wound­ing 10 along a key high­way in the lat­est of low-in­ten­sity at­tacks grip­ping Mozam­bique, state ra­dio said. The at­tack hap­pened be­tween Mux­u­ngue and the Save River, ac­cord­ing to Ra­dio Mozam­bique. It is the lat­est in a wave of at­tacks by ex-rebels in cen­tral Mozam­bique, and other parts of the coun­try, and comes just days ahead of lo­cal gov­ern­ment elec­tions sched­uled for Wed­nes­day.

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