Threats against U.S. Ambassador Kennedy probed in Japan

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Threats against U.S. Ambassador Kennedy probed in Japan

by: Indira A.R. Lakshmanan | .
Bloomberg News | .
published: March 19, 2015

WASHINGTON - The State Department is working with Japanese authorities after death threats against Ambassador Caroline Kennedy were phoned in to the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo.

"We take any threats to U.S. diplomats seriously," Jen Psaki, State Department spokeswoman, said in an emailed statement. "We take every step possible to protect our personnel. We are working with the Japanese government to ensure the necessary measures are in place."

U.S. officials wouldn't comment on the specific details of any threats or steps they are taking to address them.

Tokyo police are investigating calls made in February threatening to kill Kennedy and similar ones targeting Alfred Magleby, the U.S. consul general based on the southern island of Okinawa, the Associated Press reported Wednesday.

The calls were made by someone with a male voice who was speaking English and are being investigated as a suspected case of blackmail, according to Kyodo News.

The threats come after the March 5 attack on the U.S. ambassador to South Korea, Mark Lippert, who required 80 stitches and was hospitalized for several days after being knifed by an anti-U.S. activist.

The Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department declined to comment. The spokesman asked not to be named because there has been no official announcement by the department.

Kennedy, 57, became ambassador to Japan in November 2013. She is the only surviving child of President John F. Kennedy, who was assassinated in 1963.

First lady Michelle Obama arrives in Tokyo Wednesday on a trip to draw attention to the Let Girls Learn education initiative, according to the White House. She will visit Tokyo March 18-20, Kyoto on March 20, and Siem Reap, Cambodia, March 20-22.