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U.S. Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy Pays a Visit to Hiroshima RERF

Ambassador Kennedy (right) and Chairman Okubo (left) exchanging gifts in the Chairman's Office, with Mr. Jeffrey Miller (Energy Attaché, U.S. Department of Energy; center)

    On April 17, 2015, RERF had the pleasure of receiving a brief visit from Ms. Caroline Bouvier Kennedy, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Japan, a position to which Ambassador Kennedy was nominated by U.S. President Barack Obama on July 24, 2013, and officially confirmed by the U.S. Senate on October 16, 2013. She is the first female U.S. Ambassador to Japan. Ambassador Kennedy was accompanied on her visit to RERF by Ms. Roshni Nirody (Special Assistant to the Ambassador), Mr. Jeffrey Miller (Energy Attaché, U.S. Department of Energy), Mr. Allen Greenberg (U.S. Consul General Osaka-Kobe), and three officers/staff members from the U.S. Consulate Osaka-Kobe.
    The group was hosted by RERF Chairman Toshiteru Okubo and other RERF senior staff in Dr. Okubo’s office. After official greetings and introductions, Dr. Okubo provided the group with overviews on the history of RERF and the Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission (ABCC), RERF’s predecessor organization, as well as with details about the various cohorts that ABCC-RERF has studied over the years. Ambassador Kennedy asked detailed questions about the research being undertaken at RERF, especially in terms of the offspring (F1) generation.
    Following the initial overview meeting, a facility tour was provided to the Embassy team, during which descriptions of the clinical examination areas were presented by Dr. Okubo together with Dr. Waka Ohishi, Chief, Department of Clinical Studies. Thereafter, Dr. Okubo guided the group to the recently established Biosample Center, where he and Dr. Yoshiaki Kodama, Director of the Biosample Center, explained the significance of centralized storage of RERF’s more than 800,000 biosamples.
    This was the second visit to RERF for Ambassador Kennedy. On January 11, 1978, her uncle, Senator Edward M. Kennedy, from the U.S. state of Massachusetts and the brother of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy (JFK), visited the RERF laboratory in Hiroshima. Accompanying him on his trip were his wife and three children, three of his sisters, as well as Caroline Kennedy, JFK's daughter, and Michael Kennedy, JFK's nephew (please refer to our March 14, 2013, Facebook article on the visit). Dr. Okubo presented Ambassador Kennedy with a copy of a photograph of Senator Kennedy taken during his visit to RERF, as the group passed by the same framed photograph on their way to the Biosample Center.
    We truly appreciated the opportunity to explain our organization and its scientific results to Ambassador Kennedy and her staff. We feel confident that the findings from our research can serve to remind all those who visit RERF of the importance of our scientific program.