Caroline Kennedy was an early supporter of President Obama in the 2008 campaign and was co-chairwoman of his re-election campaign.

File photo by TODD HEISLER • New York Times ,

Caroline Kennedy seen as likely choice as envoy to Japan

  • Article by: Michael D. Shear
  • New York Times
  • April 1, 2013 - 9:30 PM

– Caroline Kennedy, the daughter of President John F. Kennedy, is likely to be the next U.S. ambassador to Japan, according to people familiar with the appointment process.

The vetting of Kennedy by the White House is almost complete, and an appointment could be announced in the coming weeks, along with the names of several other choices for important diplomatic posts.

Kennedy, 55, was an early supporter of President Obama in the 2008 presidential election and offered forceful backing as he battled Hillary Rodham Clinton for the Democratic nomination. She also served as a co-chairwoman of Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign.

The diplomatic assignment would vault Kennedy, a lawyer and the author of 10 books, into the kind of public life that her family has embraced for nearly 75 years, including in the diplomatic corps. Kennedy’s grandfather, Joseph P. Kennedy Sr., served as ambassador to Britain from 1938 to 1940. Her aunt, Jean Ann Kennedy Smith, served as President Bill Clinton’s ambassador to Ireland.

Esther Newberg, the agent for Kennedy’s current book, a compilation of poetry for young children, declined to comment on the author’s behalf.

“She is on her book tour, actually, and that’s the only thing she is talking about,” Newberg wrote in an e-mail.

White House officials also declined to comment on Kennedy. Press secretary Jay Carney said he had “no personnel announcements to make” about ambassador appointments. Asked to comment on Kennedy’s qualifications to serve as ambassador to Japan, Carney declined.

Kennedy does not have any obvious connection to Japan, but she would arrive in Tokyo as a kind of celebrity — a member of one of America’s most famous families and someone close to the president.

Sending her to Tokyo would continue a long presidential tradition of appointing well-known American political figures to the post, which some diplomatic sources say pleases the Japanese as confirmation of their country’s stature with the United States. Former American ambassadors to Japan include former Vice President Walter Mondale, former Senate Majority Leader Mike Mansfield and former Speaker of the House Thomas Foley.

Kennedy is the president of the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation and the chairwoman of the senior advisory committee at the Institute of Politics at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. She would replace John Roos, the former head of a Silicon Valley law firm.

White House officials declined to give a timeline for an announcement about the Japan post.


The Washington Post contributed to this report.

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