November 19th, 2013
06:00 AM ET

Caroline Kennedy Takes Center Stage in Japan New U.S. Ambassador

Caroline Kennedy on Tuesday stepped before an emperor and into a new global limelight, along a path paved by her father.

Arriving at Tokyo's Imperial Palace in a maroon horse-drawn carriage, the 55-year-old presented Emperor Akihito with her credentials to serve as the U.S. Ambassador to Japan.

Along the route into the palace's leafy grounds, onlookers waited to catch a glimpse of her in the late autumn sunshine.  CNN's Kyung Lah reports the mirth from the Japanese citizens on the ground. Some waved small Japanese and U.S. flags.

"This appointment has a special significance as we commemorate the 50th anniversary of my father's presidency," she told a U.S. Senate committee in September before being confirmed for the post

Her father, President John F. Kennedy, was assassinated November 22, 1963 - 50 years ago this week.

"I am conscious of my responsibility to uphold the ideals he represented - a deep commitment to public service, a more just America and a more peaceful world," Caroline Kennedy said.

For all the pomp of Tuesday's event, the significance of Caroline Kennedy's arrival as a historic marker runs deep. John F. Kennedy battled against Japan in World War II.

In fact, he said Japan's success against him was what made him a hero. "It was involuntary," he once said. "They sank my boat."

His encounter with a Japanese destroyer on the night of August 1, 1943, "may be the most famous small-craft engagement in naval history," the John F. Kennedy President Library and Museum says.

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