Japanese police have arrested a man who has admitted to making bomb threats against the US Embassy in Tokyo, after death threats were made against Ambassador Caroline Kennedy.
Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department arrested Mitsuyoshi Kamiya, 52, from Okinawa on Thursday, after he admitted to making bomb threats from a public phone on the southern island, a spokesman for the force said.
He also threatened to bomb the Camp Schwab US military base on the island, a police spokesman said, adding that Kamiya’s motive was not immediately known.
Earlier in March, Kamiya made three phone calls during which he used threatening phrases in English including: “Bomb Camp Schwab” and “Bomb the embassy”.
The incidents prompted the embassy to increase its security operation, the police spokesman said.
NHK, Japan’s public broadcaster, quoted sources claiming that Kamiya also made the threatening phone calls to Kennedy and the US consul general on Okinawa.
Adding to speculation, the Yomiuri newspaper reported that police had been secretly following the suspect, and said that the embassy had received about 30 threatening calls since last month - including those threatening to kill Kennedy and the consul general.
Around 50,000 US troops are currently stationed in Japan, and residents often complain about crime, noise and other issues related to the bases.
While the US government wants to relocate one base, the Marine Corps Futenma air station, to another area of Okinawa, many residents want it moved completely off the island.
US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki confirmed that Japanese police had arrested a 52-year-old person from Okinawa for making threatening phone calls against the embassy. She said the Japanese government is leading the investigation.
Kennedy, the daughter of the late President John F. Kennedy, arrived in Tokyo in November 2013 as the first woman to serve as US ambassador to Japan.
She visited Okinawa in February last year in an attempt to win support for the base relocation plan, and pledged that Washington would do its best to reduce the burden of its heavy troop presence there.
Earlier this month, the US ambassador to South Korea, Mark Lippert, was slashed in the face and wrist by an anti-US activist in Seoul and was hospitalized for several days.
Additional reporting by APReuse content