Date
17 November 2017
Caroline Kennedy is the target of death threats, several of them from an English-speaking man, according reports. Photo: Reuters
Caroline Kennedy is the target of death threats, several of them from an English-speaking man, according reports. Photo: Reuters

Caroline Kennedy death threats prompt Tokyo security alert

United States Ambassador Caroline Kennedy is under heavy security after the American embassy in Tokyo received death threats against her.

Several were made by an English-speaking man by phone last month, Reuters reported Thursday, citing the Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper. 

American and Japanese authorities are working to ensure the safety of US personnel in Japan, State Department said on Wednesday.

The threats also targeted the US consul general in Okinawa, Alfred Magleby, according to Yomiuri and other Japanese and US media reports.

Okinawa island hosts the bulk of US service personnel stationed in the country.

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki did not confirm any specific threats to Kennedy and Magleby but she said in a statement that “we take any threats to US diplomats seriously”.

She said the the State Department is working with the Japanese government to ensure the necessary measures are in place.

The US embassy and Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department declined to comment.

Reports of the threats emerged as First Lady Michelle Obama arrived in Japan on Wednesday for a three-day visit, including a meeting with diplomatic staff from Tokyo and Osaka.

The reports came two weeks after the US ambassador to South Korea, Mark Lippert, was attacked and injured by a man with a knife during an event in Seoul.

That prompted debate about threats against American diplomats abroad and the precautions taken to protect US ambassadors.

The State Department has said security for Lippert was adequate.

Security for US ambassadors worldwide is based on assessments by experts from the State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security, according to the department.

Lippert had been assigned a single South Korean National Police bodyguard but his security was increased after the attack to include several other police officers, the State Department has said.

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CG/RA

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