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U.S. Embassy in Japan issues warning

The U.S. Embassy in Japan issued an e-mail warning to U.S. citizens on Monday about a possible bomb attack against the mission this week but added that it was unable to determine whether the threat was credible.
/ Source: Reuters

The U.S. Embassy in Japan issued an e-mail warning to U.S. citizens Monday about a possible bomb attack against the mission this week but added that it was unable to determine whether the threat was credible.

The notice, sent to U.S. citizens who have signed up for the e-mail service, said the embassy had received information through the Internet about a possible attack during the week of May 10.

"We are unable at this time to determine the credibility of the threat, but we feel it is our responsibility to take all such information seriously and to share this with the American Community,” the e-mail said.

“The appropriate Japanese authorities have been notified,” it added. But Tokyo police said security around the U.S. Embassy and other U.S.-related facilities such as military bases had already been fully tightened and no additional measures were being taken.

“We have already been on heightened alert, and therefore we are not taking any new measures,” a spokesman for the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Agency said.

Since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States, Japan has stepped up security at government offices, nuclear power plants, airports and railway stations as well as at U.S. facilities including the embassy in Tokyo.

Japan, a close ally of the United States, has sent some 550 ground troops to the southern Iraqi town of Samawa on a non-combat mission to help rebuild Iraq.

Tokyo has insisted that it will not withdraw its troops despite a deteriorating security situation in Iraq and two hostage-taking incidents involving five Japanese civilians, all of whom were later released.

Under Japanese law, the troops are allowed to conduct their activities only in “non-combat zones.”

Any casualties among the Japanese troops in Iraq could shake the government of Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, a staunch backer of the United States.

No Japanese soldier has been killed in combat since 1945, and the Iraq operation is the country’s riskiest since World War II.