"I have never had a president who inspired me the way people tell me that my father inspired them," she said in January 2008. "But for the first time, I believe I have found the man who could be that president."
Kennedy, 55, is a Columbia-educated lawyer and published poet who has co-authored two books on the law with Ellen Alderman. "In Our Defense: The Bill of Rights in Action" was published in 1991, followed by "The Right to Privacy" four years later.
The fine arts major has been married to Edwin Schlossberg since 1986, and they have three children, Rose, Tatiana and Jack.
The Obama administration has emphasized the importance of maintaining a strong partnership with Japan at a time of strained relations with North Korea and the rise of China as a global economic player.
Kennedy's late grandfather, Joseph P. Kennedy, served as U.S. ambassador to the United Kingdom under Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and her aunt, Jean Kennedy Smith, was envoy to Ireland during President Bill Clinton's administration.
Kennedy was approaching her sixth birthday when her father was assassinated in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963. Her younger brother, John Jr., died piloting his plane off the coast of Martha's Vineyard in 1999.
Roos has served in the post since August 2009.
"He is somebody who I'm confident is going to be able to help to strengthen both the regional and the global relationship between the United States and Japan," Obama said at the time of Roos' appointment.