TV Asahi reported on Tuesday that earlier in the day FM Kishida took Ambassador Kennedy to dinner at a Tokyo restaurant to celebrate her birthday later this month. The network said Kishida expressed hope for a seamless transition of government in the U.S., and the Ambassador said she believes the U.S.-Japan relationship will continue to develop under a Trump administration. The network said the Ambassador is expected to be replaced when the new U.S. government starts in January.
Asahi, Sankei, and Jiji filed similar stories online, quoting Kishida as saying: “The U.S.-Japan alliance is the cornerstone of Japan’s diplomacy. We will continue to closely cooperate with the Obama administration for ensuring peace and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region and around the world. Ambassador Kennedy has played an indispensable role in U.S.-Japan relations. Thanks to her, we were able to hold a number of events signifying the strength of the bilateral alliance, including President Obama’s visit to Hiroshima.” In reply, the Ambassador reportedly said it was exactly three years since her arrival in Japan, that the gathering was a chance to acknowledge Minister Kishida’s many accomplishments, and that she was honored to have worked with him. According to Asahi, the dinner was arranged by Kishida in the belief that this would probably be the last opportunity to dine with the Ambassador in view of the election of Donald Trump.