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Abe Says Crowds for Kennedy Show Expectations for New Ambassador

The large crowd that turned out to greet Caroline Kennedy as she took up her post as the top U.S. diplomat to Japan reflects the anticipation over her ambassadorship, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said.

“I was watching the ceremony where you presented your credentials to his majesty the emperor; I don’t believe we have ever seen such a large number of people turn out to see a new ambassador,” Abe said after meeting Kennedy today in Tokyo. “This shows the high expectations the Japanese people have of you.”

Kennedy’s background as the only living child of former U.S. President John F. Kennedy and her ties to President Barack Obama have heightened attention on her appointment. Her father had hoped to become the first sitting U.S. president to visit Japan before he was assassinated in Dallas 50 years ago this week.

Kennedy, 55, traveled to the Imperial Palace yesterday in a century-old, horse drawn carriage, as thousands of Japanese waved and snapped pictures, to present her credentials and a letter from President Obama to Emperor Akihito.

The ceremony “was a great tribute to the relationship between the United States and Japan, and I was very honored by the warm welcome I received,” Kennedy told Abe today.

Abe also said that Japan was sending 1,000 troops to the Philippines and that he looked forward to the Japanese forces working with their U.S. counterparts to provide relief to survivors of Typhoon Haiyan.

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