What she will do for her country -- Ambassador Caroline Kennedy

Nearly 50 years after President John F. Kennedy was assassinated, his daughter Caroline was sworn in today as the U.S. ambassador to Japan.

Caroline Kennedy is used to the spotlight that comes with being a member of Camelot.

She's now following in her family's tradition of public service.

At her confirmation hearing in September, Kennedy said she would honor her late father through diplomacy.

Caroline Kennedy is sworn in as ambassador to Japan CBS News

During World War II, he fought against Japan. Now it's America's closest ally in Asia.

Caroline Kennedy with her father CBS News

"I would be humbled to carry forward his legacy in a small way and represent the powerful bonds that unite our two democratic societies," she said at the hearing.

The world got to know Caroline Kennedy during the early days of her father's presidency -- cuddling with him while sailing off Cape Cod and dancing in the Oval Office with her younger brother, John.

As her father lay in state, she held her mother's hand as they approached his casket. It was just three days short of her sixth birthday.

As an adult, Kennedy avoided the limelight. She married -- honeymooned in Japan -- and became a lawyer, author and mother of three.

Caroline and John Kennedy dance in the Oval Office CBS News

Her first step into politics came in 2008, when she joined her Uncle Ted Kennedy to endorse then-candidate Barack Obama for president.

She will now be a member of his Foreign Service.

One of the Obama administration's prime foreign policy goals is to increase U.S. influence in Asia. Kennedy's close relationship with the president -- and her celebrity -- is key to her role as ambassador.

Caroline Kennedy endorsed Barack Obama CBS News

In recent months, she has studied with leading Japan-watchers and met with Congressional and business leaders to prepare for deployment.

She is expected to arrive in Tokyo as soon as next week, where she will present her credentials to the emperor before taking up her post at the U.S. embassy.

  • Margaret Brennan

    Margaret Brennan is moderator of CBS News' "Face The Nation" and CBS News' senior foreign affairs correspondent based in Washington, D.C.