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Obama taps Caroline Kennedy for Japan ambassador

WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama nominated Caroline Kennedy, the daughter of President John F. Kennedy, Wednesday as the next U.S. ambassador to Japan.

Kennedy, 55, would replace Ambassador John Roos, a former technology lawyer and Obama campaign donor. The only surviving child of the late president and his wife, Jacqueline, Kennedy would be the first woman to serve as the top U.S. envoy in Japan.

An early backer of Obama in his 2008 run for president and a co-chairman of his 2012 re-election campaign, Kennedy is one of several political supporters and donors who have been under review for ambassadorships to top U.S. allies.

Officials in Japan have said that they would welcome Kennedy's nomination. Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said in April that "such an appointment would be much talked about and it would deepen our friendship."

For Kennedy, becoming an ambassador would allow her to continue a family tradition of public service. Her father, the 35th U.S. president, was assassinated on Nov. 22, 1963. Her uncle Robert Kennedy, a U.S. senator from New York, was assassinated while running for president in 1968. Another uncle, U.S. Sen. Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts, died in August 2009 after serving in the Senate for almost 47 years.

Her grandfather, Joseph P. Kennedy, was President Franklin D. Roosevelt's ambassador to Britain.

Tokyo is an important post because of extensive economic and security ties. Japan was the U.S.'s fourth-largest trading partner in goods in January.

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