March 19, 2015 08:15
Japanese police are investigating phone calls threatening to kill U.S. Ambassador Caroline Kennedy and another American envoy, authorities said Wednesday.
Tokyo police are investigating the calls to the U.S. embassy and similar ones targeting Alfred Magleby, the U.S. consul general based on the southern island of Okinawa, an Okinawa police official said. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to comment on an investigation by Tokyo authorities.
According to media reports, the U.S. embassy located in Tokyo's Minato Ward received calls in February from a man speaking English who said he was going to kill Kennedy, Xinhau news agency reported.
Police were also looking into the case on suspicion of blackmailing. No other details, including motives, were known.
State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Wednesday, "We take any threats to U.S. diplomats seriously. We take every step possible to protect our personnel."
Psaki provided no further details of any alleged threats.
Tokyo police declined to comment. The embassy also did not comment, citing policy regarding the ambassador's security.
Okinawa is home to about half of the 50,000 American troops based in Japan.
Kennedy, a lawyer and former book editor, is the daughter of former U.S. President John F. Kennedy, who was assassinated in 1963, just a few days before Caroline Kennedy's sixth birthday.
A staunch supporter of President Barack Obama, she became the U.S. ambassador to Japan in 2013.
Earlier this month, the U.S. ambassador to South Korea, Mark Lippert, was knifed by an anti-U.S. activist in Seoul and had to be hospitalized for several days.
On Wednesday, former U.S. President Bill Clinton spoke at a Tokyo university, alongside Kennedy and Abe, as they attended a symposium on the legacy of assassinated President John F. Kennedy.
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