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Japan PM urges caution over possible attacks

Written by: Staff
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TOKYO, Apr 27 (Reuters) Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi urged Japanese authorities today to be on their guard for possible terrorist attacks over the coming ''Golden Week'' holiday, when millions travel domestically and overseas.

''During Golden Week many people enjoy travel so we need to pay sufficient consideration to the safety of public transport,'' he told reporters.

''Regarding terrorism, we are being diligent and conducting (preventive) efforts ... every day. It is necessary for various ministries to cooperate to take steps firmly for safety and against terrorism,'' Koizumi added.

He was responding to a reporter who had asked him what instructions he had given to the chairman of the National Public Safety Commission.

A National Police Agency official declined to say whether authorities had any specific information about possible attacks during next week's holidays.

Japan, a firm US ally, has been cited by Islamic militant group al Qaeda as a possible target.

It has been on its guard especially since its 2003 decision to send troops to Iraq on a non-combat, reconstruction mission.

With national holidays from May 3 to 5, many people will be taking additional days off to enjoy a week-long break.

The JTB travel agency estimates that a record 565,000 people will take overseas trips between April 26 and May 6, while domestic travellers are seen reaching 21.3 million.

REUTERS CH PM1910

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