Obama nominates Caroline Kennedy as ambassador to Japan

President Barack Obama will name Caroline Kennedy as his next ambassador to Japan, the White House announced on Wednesday.

Obama will follow through on speculation and name the daughter of former President John F. Kennedy to her first diplomatic post. Her grandfather, Joseph Kennedy, was the U.S. Ambassdor to Great Britain before World War II. 

Obama praised Kennedy and two other officials whom he appointed for "a depth of experience and tremendous dedication to their new roles."

"Our nation will be well-served by these individuals, and I look forward to working with them in the months and years to come," the president said.

Japanese officials have signaled they would be delighted to have the high-profile Kennedy as ambassador. In the past, the post has been filled by both career and political appointees -- including some big names, such as former Senate Majority Leaders Mike Mansfield and Howard Baker, former House Speaker Thomas Foley and former Vice President Walter Mondale, among others. 

Kennedy and her late uncle, longtime Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., were early and vocal supporters of Obama's during his bitter primary battle with Hillary Clinton in 2008. Kennedy had briefly considered running for the U.S. senate in New York, but quickly withdrew from consideration after testing the waters.

NBC's Michael O'Brien contributed to this report.