Caroline Kennedy, who became ambassador to Japan in November 2013, has received death threats, according to a report by BBC News. Police in Japan are now investigating several threats that were made by an English speaking man who called into the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo last month. Another diplomat, U.S. Consul General Alfred Magleby, has also been a target of death threats. He is stationed on the southern island of Okinawa, where approximately 25,000 U.S. troops are based.
CNN reported that the motives for the threats toward the diplomat are unknown. Americans and Japanese authorities are looking into the death threats on suspicion of blackmailing Kennedy or the embassy. State Department deputy spokesperson Marie Harf indicated that every step is taken to protect U.S. diplomats. She will not comment further or give specific dates of the death threats or any details about steps that will be taken to address the threats because of policies for the ambassador’s security and safety.
The death threats targeted at Kennedy and Magleby in Japan come two weeks after Mark Lippert, U. S. Ambasssador to South Korea received cuts to his face and wrist done by an anti-U.S. activist with a 10-in knife, while attending an event in Seoul. Lippert was hospitalized for several days while the gashes were healing. According to Reuters, Lippert had been assigned a single South Korean National Police bodyguard, but his security has been increased after the attack to include several other police officers. Since the recent attack and death threats, Harf said she is not aware of any plans to increase security for diplomats in other places.
All sources say the death threats were made last month. The threats aimed at Kennedy became known to the public as First Lady Michelle Obama traveled to Japan on Wednesday for a five-day trip to Japan and Cambodia to speak about the importance of education for girls. Former President Bill Clinton was also in Japan on Wednesday to deliver a speech at a university in Tokyo along with Ambassador Kennedy, while investigations regarding the telephone calls made to threaten the 57-year-old daughter of former U.S. President John F. Kennedy are ongoing.
Caroline Kennedy is the first female to take the top position of ambassador to Japan. That post has traditionally been known as a high-profile position held only by men. Hopefully, the death threats will not dampen the ambassador’s excitement to continue doing what she has been doing successfully for the last couple of years.
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