TOKYO — Caroline Kennedy, making her first trip as U.S. ambassador to Japan, visited the Tohoku region on Nov. 25 and 26.
In Sendai she met with Gen. Toshiaki Tanaka, commander of the JSDF (Japan Self-Defense Forces) North Eastern Army, and discussed U.S.-Japan security cooperation. Later they visited a restored church that today commemorates U.S.-Japan cooperation during Operation Tomodachi after the 3.11 earthquake.
Kennedy also visited Mangoku-ura Elementary School in Ishinomaki, where students taught her how to write the kanji character for “friend” (“tomo”) using traditional calligraphy brush and ink.
During the visit, Kennedy took time to read the classic “Where the Wild Things Are” to a group of sixth-grade students previously taught by Taylor Anderson, an American JET (Japan Exchange Teaching Program) teacher who died in the March 11 tsunami. Kennedy also donated over 100 books to the Taylor Anderson Memorial Reading Corner.
Residents from the Nakasemachi Temporary Housing Facility in Minami Sanriku shared their personal experiences with Kennedy and explained how a knitting cooperative helped them heal from losses that include all but nine of the 198 homes in their neighborhood.
The ambassador, the daughter of President John F. Kennedy, was appointed by President Obama and assumed her duties after presenting her credentials to Emperor Akihito on Nov. 19.