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  • 12 February 2014, 13:55

JFK: Kennedy Says Father Almost Died In Japan

Caroline Kennedy has revealed her father, former US president John F Kennedy, nearly died on the southern Japanese island of Okinawa.

Ms Kennedy, the newly appointed US ambassador to Japan, was holding a meeting with Okinawa governor Hirokazu Nakaima when she made the revelation.

At the end of the talks, she handed over a copy of a visa application her father made when he was there with his brother in 1951.

Ms Kennedy said her father he had fallen ill with a high fever and was taken to a hospital in Okinawa, which was then under post-war US occupation.

Mr Nakaima said he knew Mr Kennedy had been taken to an army hospital on the island.

"I remember hearing that he fell ill during a visit to Asia, and I think it was an army hospital, he was admitted to an American army hospital," Mr Nakaima said.

Ms Kennedy replied: "Yes, I think he was, they thought he might die, and so his life was saved here on Okinawa. So, an honour to be here and to visit."

Mr Kennedy never went to Japan in the nearly three years he was president, but he was very popular in the country.

He was planning to visit in January 1964, and an advance team, including then-secretary of state Dean Rusk, was on a plane to Tokyo for talks when Mr Kennedy was shot and killed in Dallas, Texas, on November 22, 1963.

When news broke that Mr Kennedy had been assassinated, the plane turned around in mid-Pacific and headed back to the US.

Ms Kennedy was on her first visit to Okinawa, where she was trying to drum up support for a controversial plan to relocate a US military base.

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