The daughter of President John F. Kennedy plans to leave for Tokyo Thursday, The New York Times reported.
The ceremony in Kerry's outer office was attended by Kennedy's husband, Edwin Schlossberg, and their son, John. No press was allowed.
Kennedy, 55, has no special expertise on Japan, although she testified at her confirmation hearing she has visited the country several times, the first time in 1978 with her uncle, Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass. What she does have is a close relationship with President Obama, dating back to 2008 when the Kennedys gave Obama their support at a critical time in his campaign.
Kennedy's predecessor, John V. Roos, was a major Obama fundraiser.
At the confirmation hearing, Kennedy paid tribute to her father.
"I am conscious of my responsibility to uphold the ideals he represented: a deep commitment to public service, a more just America and a more peaceful world," she said.
President Kennedy commanded a P-T boat in the Pacific during World War II. But as president, the Times said, he did a lot to move the U.S.-Japan relationship to a more equal footing.