The Washington Times - July 24, 2013, 05:31PM

President Obama on Wednesday announced he will nominate Caroline Kennedy, daughter of the late President John F. Kennedy and a member of one of the Democratic party’s most famous political dynasties, as U.S. ambassador to Japan.

If confirmed by the Senate, Ms. Kennedy will be the first female to hold the post, long considered one of the most important in U.S. diplomacy.


The daughter of the late president expressed interest in late 2008 in an appointment to the U.S. Senate seat held by Hillary Rodham Clinton, who was leaving to become secretary of state. But Ms. Kennedy was criticized for not having voted in several elections, and she eventually withdrew from consideration for the seat.

Ms. Kennedy made waves in the political world in January 2008 when she endorsed Mr. Obama’s bid for the presidency in the Democratic primary against Mrs. Clinton.

“I have never had a president who inspired me the way people tell me that my father inspired them,” she wrote in an op-ed. “But for the first time, I believe I have found the man who could be that president—not just for me, but for a new generation of Americans.”

Ms. Kennedy co-chaired Mr. Obama’s vice presidential search committee and four years later was one of the president’s national co-chairs for his re-election drive.

Japan is one of the United States’ most important trading and military partners and since the end of World War II has seen a string of high-profile and politically connected American political leaders serve as envoy, including former Vice President Walter Mondale, former House Speaker Tom Foley and former Senate Majority Leaders Howard Baker.

If confirmed, Ms. Kennedy would replace John Roos, a wealthy former lawyer from California and top Obama campaign fundraiser.

Ms. Kennedy, 55, is president of the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation and chair of the senior advisory committee of the Institute of Politics at Harvard University. In September, she was appointed as a general trustee of the Board of Trustees of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

From 2002 to 2012, she served as vice chair of the Fund for Public Schools in New York City. She is also on the board of directors of New Visions for Public Schools and serves as honorary chair of the American Ballet Theater.

— This article was based in part on wire service reports.