Nightly News   |  November 19, 2013

Caroline Kennedy eager to fulfill her father’s legacy

U.S. Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy, who is very close with President Obama, said she’s grateful that he has entrusted her “with this important mission.” Her father, John F. Kennedy, had hoped to be the first sitting president to make a state visit to Japan – and had wanted to reunite his PT 109 crew with the Japanese ship that sunk their boat in the war. Now, his daughter is in Tokyo. NBC’s Andrea Mitchell reports.

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>>> finally here tonight as we mark the 50th anniversary of jfk's assassination, a sad anniversary for this country, and for that family, another chapter begins, caroline kennedy is now ambassador kennedy in japan . and today got off to a ceremonial start.

>> reporter: with all the pomp and circumstance required for her first audience with japan 's emperor, caroline kennedy made a grand entrance. this man was enthralled.

>> i'm eager to begin my work as ambassador.

>> reporter: why caroline, and why japan ?

>> i am most grateful to president obama for entrusting me to this mission.

>> reporter: she is very close to the president, ever since she and her late uncle endorsed him at a critical point in the 2008 campaign. and there is family history . john f. kennedy 's only surviving off spring said she was eager to fulfill her father's legacy.

>> he had hoped to be the first sitting president to make a state visit to japan .

>> reporter: president kennedy had had hoped to reunite his crew in japan with the japanese ship crew that had sunk their boat in the war. in fact, when jfk was shot, they were half way there. then they turned back, now, caroline is in tokyo, and wanted to be there for the anniversary.

>> reporter: a lawyer and author, she is a diplomat and novelist. jean kennedy smith was bill clinton 's ambassador to ireland . and sergeant shriver was ambassador to france .

>> thank you so much.

>> reporter: and japan 's government is apparently delighted to have a celebrity envoy who has the president's ear. andrea mitchell , nbc news, washington.