WASHINGTON – The U.S. and Japanese governments are investigating death threats against Washington’s ambassador to the Asian nation, Caroline Kennedy.
“We take any threats to U.S. diplomats seriously,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Wednesday. “We take every step possible to protect our personnel.”
Japanese police disclosed on Tuesday that someone telephoned the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo several times last month to threaten the life of the ambassador, who is the last surviving child of President John F. Kennedy.
The caller was a man who spoke in English, Japan’s Kyodo news agency said, citing unnamed sources close to the investigation.
Japanese media report that the same man also threatened to kill Alfred Magleby, the U.S. consul-general on the southern island of Okinawa, which has the largest concentration of American military personnel in Japan.
Many Okinawans are unhappy over the massive U.S. military presence on their island.
News of the threats to Kennedy coincided with U.S. first lady Michelle Obama’s arrival in Japan on a tour to promote the education of girls.
Concern about the safety of U.S. diplomats has been heightened by a knife attack earlier this month on Washington’s ambassador to South Korea.
The assailant was described as an ultranationalist angry about U.S.-South Korean joint military exercises.
Though seriously injured, Ambassador Mark Lippert survived the assault and has returned to work.