Obama says will name Caroline Kennedy as ambassador to Japan

WASHINGTON Thu Jul 25, 2013 2:09am EDT

Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg, daughter of late U.S. President John F. Kennedy, speaks at the 2013 John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award ceremony at the Kennedy Library in Boston, Massachusetts May 5, 2013. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg, daughter of late U.S. President John F. Kennedy, speaks at the 2013 John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award ceremony at the Kennedy Library in Boston, Massachusetts May 5, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Brian Snyder

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama said on Wednesday he would name Caroline Kennedy, daughter of the late President John F. Kennedy, as ambassador to Japan, lending the prestige of a storied political dynasty to the relationship with an important Asian ally.

Kennedy, who has a law degree, is president of the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation and chairs an advisory committee at the Institute of Politics at Harvard University. Active in Democratic politics, the 55-year-old was an early and prominent supporter of Obama in his initial quest for the presidency in 2008.

Her appointment is subject to Senate confirmation.

Kennedy's endorsement, along with that of her uncle, the late Senator Edward Kennedy, gave Obama the stamp of approval of one the most important names in Democratic politics and provided an enormous boost to his candidacy.

Kennedy's father and another uncle, Robert Kennedy, were felled by assassins' bullets in the prime of their political careers. Other members of the extended Kennedy clan have gone on to political careers.

Japan is a particularly close and important ally of the United States, and past U.S. ambassadors have been well-known political figures, including former Vice President Walter Mondale.

Tokyo on Thursday welcomed the news, with Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga saying that Kennedy's lack of experience in diplomacy and dealing with Japan would not be a liability.

"I hear she is very close to President Obama," he told a news conference. "The ambassador will play an extremely important role in conveying matters directly to the president so we'd like to welcome that."

Kennedy's stature will send a strong signal about the value that the United States places on the relationship, said Laurence Leamer, the author of three books about the Kennedy family. If confirmed by the Senate, Kennedy can expect white-hot media attention, he said.

"The Japanese will love her," Leamer said. "They love the Kennedys. They have this fascination with all things Western, and they're obsessed with celebrities."

The previous U.S. ambassador was California lawyer John Roos.

(Reporting by Mark Felsenthal and by Elaine Lies in Tokyo; Editing by Jackie Frank, Cynthia Osterman and Ron Popeski)

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Comments (3)
is it a threat?it seems like one judging from the headline.

Jul 25, 2013 2:30am EDT  --  Report as abuse
Janeallen wrote:
Caroline’s family has a legacy of standing up for human rights and civil rights.

I hope that she will not fail in this tradition.

Hundreds of millions of victims of the type of racial discrimination most effectively and most egregiously championed by Japanese diplomats, politicians, to promote a century old tradition of treating Japanese as the honorary Aryans, superior to non-Aryans, including all non-Japanese Asians in the United States of America, as well as in Asia— is an atrocious chapter of anti-human rights history that Japan has unceasingly denied. In fact, even Japanese people who stand up for the rights of non-Japanese are harassed. Chinese American heroes who dare to document history have been subjected to death threats, deliberate defamation, and destruction of career, even early mysterious deaths in mysterious circumstances.

If Caroline wants to be considered successful, she must exhort Japan to come to terms with the inevitable punishment when truth is revealed. No amount of harassment by sham lawsuits, by pulling strings through corrupt means should be allowed by Caroline, like it has been allowed by over a century long list of American politicians.

On the other hand, if she succeeds, she will continue in the legacy of her ancestors, in being tough enough to stand with the cause of civil rights, despite entrenched political forces in the United States, in Europe as well as in Japan against the hundreds of millions deprived of life, liberty, limb and property for generations and never received justice– not in any law court, not in the western media, and certainly not in the conversation at the G8!

Jul 25, 2013 8:28pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
PPlainTTruth wrote:
Caroline has suffered the personal tragedy of losing loved ones.

Perhaps she can finally bring justice to the hundreds of millions who suffered the deaths of their loved ones at the hands of the ancestors of Japanese Prime Minister Abe, and all the other war criminals whom Japan as a nation, is increasingly worshiping as a nation.

Such worshiping creates a culture that promotes of culture of ARTFUL defamation, distortion of history, and psychological manipulation of the psyche of naive, particularly young Japanese voters by Japanese hawkish politicians.

I saw the most disturbing Japanese movie recently. It creates the utmost fear of a biological warfare disaster scene in Japan. Through out 99% of the movie, it depicts a mystery figure known in Japanese as “Friend”. The victims kept wondering whether Friend is a good or bad guy. At the end a flicker of a scene depicts Friend as a Chinese who had stole all the vaccines in addition to creating the biological warfare. Very quickly, the scene shifts to a soft, mushy, singing by a folk/rock singer. Psychologically, the movie is carefully calculated to promote hysterical, out of control fear, and then the way it created the suspense, and then a revelation of a sinister Chinese figure with mandarin dubbing, is the most effective brainwashing tactic— because
(1) at the peak of fear, the usual rational capacity is turned off;
(2) the showing of the demonization of a Chinese figure is short enough that the viewer is led not to dwell on the completely lack of evidence, reasoning capacity to debate the appropriateness of such demonization,
(3) the immediate turning to a soft song creates a period of de-escalation of the fear while the image of the demonized Chinese figure( the object of defamation) can linger in the mind of the Japanese viewers while the viewer with the bias can speak the negative opinion, can conduct himself and herself seemingly calmly when talking about such phobia as if it is a reasonable belief.

This is the EXACT kind of tactic Hitler used to create fear about the Jews.

This is also the exact tactic Japanese politicians created inordinate fear in the Philippines, Vietnam and India.

Caroline has a tough task ahead of her. The position of ambassador to Japan is not the same job it has been except during the years immediately prior to World War II, when the ambassador’s failure to discern the plan of Japan to attack United States directly, after United States had repeatedly treated Japan with impunity in any war crimes from the 19th century all the way till Pearl Harbor.

The current Administration and Congress made serious mistakes in their first term. If United States no longer wants to go down in history as the country that created World War I and World War II in Asia, whose policy created Korean War by lying to the Korean Emperor and selling out Korea to years of torture by brutal Japanese invasion and colonization, redemption is possible now, though requires a great deal of tact, hard work, and the studying of history to grasp the full breadth of the delicacy of U.S. relationship with Japan at this juncture– a juncture for possible real peace and reconciliation between Asian countries with handled appropriately, and infamy for Japan and for the United States if continued to be handled atrociously since late 19th century.

Jul 25, 2013 8:54pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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