By Alexei Koseff
1:07 PM EDT, September 19, 2013
WASHINGTON -- Recalling the efforts of her father to improve relations with Japan after World War II and his desire to be the first president to make a state visit there, Caroline Kennedy said Thursday there was no country where she would rather serve as ambassador.
“I’m conscious of my responsibility to uphold the ideals that he represented: a deep commitment to public service, a more just America and a more peaceful world,” she told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee during her nomination hearing. “I would be humbled to carry forward his legacy in a small way, and represent the powerful bonds that unite our two democratic societies.”
Kennedy, a prominent author and philanthropist and the daughter of the slain President John F. Kennedy, was nominated for the position of United States ambassador to Japan by President Obama in July.
In an introduction at the hearing, Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) praised Kennedy for carrying on her family’s legacy of public service, including her decade of work raising funds for the New York City public school system.
“It’s a career that leaves me no doubt she is well-qualified to take on this great task that awaits her if she is confirmed,” he said. “Caroline Kennedy represents the best of what our nation has to offer.”
Kennedy told the panel her personal priorities as ambassador would include encouraging more exchanges among American and Japanese students, and promoting a dialogue on the role of women in the Japanese workplace. She would be the first female ambassador to Japan.
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee will discuss and vote on Kennedy’s nomination in a private business meeting that has yet to be scheduled, a committee spokesman said. If her nomination is approved, it will be recommended to the Senate floor for a vote.
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