WASHINGTON - Caroline Kennedy said Thursday she hoped to carry on the legacy of her slain father John F. Kennedy by serving as the US ambassador to Japan, pledging to work for closer ties.
Kennedy, a close and early supporter of President Barack Obama, appeared before a Senate panel as she sought confirmation for her most public role since she was a playful young girl in the White House from 1961-63.
"I can think of no country in which I would rather serve than Japan," said Kennedy, with two of her three children and other members of the political dynasty sitting behind her.
The 55-year-old said that she first visited Japan in 1978 with her uncle, late senator Ted Kennedy, and was "deeply affected by our visit to Hiroshima," which the United States obliterated in the world's first atomic bombing in 1945.
Kennedy said the two nations' post-war alliance had a "global reach," calling Japan "an indispensable partner in promoting democracy and economic development."
"These are areas I care deeply about and, if confirmed, I will work to further strengthen this critical partnership at a vital moment in its history," she said.
The Senate appeared virtually certain to confirm Kennedy, meaning that she would head to Tokyo ahead of the 50th anniversary on November 22 of her father's assassination, when she was five days short of her sixth birthday.
"This appointment has a special significance as we commemorate the 50th anniversary of my father's presidency," she said.