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Caroline Kennedy breezes through hearing on ambassadorship

Caroline Kennedy told the Senate panel Thursday that she would work to strengthen the bond between the United States and Japan on trade, the military, and student exchanges.

MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images

Caroline Kennedy told the Senate panel Thursday that she would work to strengthen the bond between the United States and Japan on trade, the military, and student exchanges.

WASHINGTON — Caroline Kennedy coasted through a Senate confirmation hearing Thursday to be the next US ambassador to Japan, promising to carry forward the legacy of her father, President John F. Kennedy, with humility.

The soft-spoken Kennedy told the Foreign Relations Committee that if confirmed, she would work to strengthen the crucial bond between the United States and its Asian ally on trade, the military, and student exchanges.

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Japan is the United States’ fourth-largest trading partner and is home to the Navy’s Seventh Fleet and 50,000 American troops.

Kennedy said she understood her responsibility to uphold the ideals of her father — ‘‘a deep commitment to public service, a more just America, and a more peaceful world.’’

Her father served in the Pacific during World War II, battling Japanese forces. The daughter, seeking the diplomatic post for a fierce-enemy-turned-friend, said that if confirmed, ‘‘I would be humbled to carry forward his legacy in a small way and represent the powerful bonds that unite our two democratic societies.’’

Kennedy faced gentle questioning from the committee, signaling that she faced no obstacles to confirmation. Several senators said she would make a great ambassador.

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