Obama to name Caroline Kennedy as envoy to Japan: White House

U.S. President Barack Obama will nominate Caroline Kennedy, the daughter of the late U.S. President John F. Kennedy, as ambassador to Japan, the White House said Wednesday.

Kennedy, 55, will become the first woman to take the high-profile post, likely this fall after the Senate approves the appointment by Obama.

Kennedy, an attorney and a strong backer of Obama, will take the post at a time when the United States faces challenging issues in its relationship with Tokyo such as negotiations on the U.S.-led Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade pact and the realignment of U.S. military forces in Japan.

Obama said in a release which also contained the planned nominations of other government officials, "These fine public servants both bring a depth of experience and tremendous dedication to their new roles."

"I look forward to working with them in the months and years to come," he said.

Kennedy, who serves as president of the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation, is believed to have had little involvement so far with Japan except for her 1986 honeymoon trip with designer Edwin Schlossberg.

She supported Obama's election campaigns in 2008 and 2012 and is also known for close ties with Secretary of State John Kerry, who was a one-time aide to her uncle, the late Sen. Edward Kennedy.

The outgoing U.S. ambassador to Japan John Roos, a former corporate attorney and fundraiser for Obama's 2008 election campaign, assumed the post in August 2009.

The only living child of John F. Kennedy and his wife Jacqueline, Caroline Kennedy has lived through a series of tragedies that have hit the Kennedy family such as the assassination of her father in 1963, when she was 5 years old, and the death of her brother, John F. Kennedy Jr., in an airplane crash in 1999.

After graduating from Harvard University, Caroline Kennedy worked at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. She also studied at Columbia Law School.

She has written and edited books on American history, politics and poetry.

The post of U.S. ambassador to Japan has historically been served by political heavyweights. They include former Vice President Walter Mondale, former House of Representatives Speaker Thomas Foley, former Senate Majority Leader Mike Mansfield and former White House chief of staff Howard Baker.