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Japan not to shut Iraq mission
Agence France-Presse, PTI
Tokyo, March 26, 2003
First Published: 10:22 IST(26/3/2003)
Last Updated: 11:08 IST(26/3/2003)

Japan has decided to reject a US request to close the Iraqi embassy in Tokyo in order to maintain diplomatic channels, a foreign ministry official said on Wednesday.

"The Japanese government studied (the request) from its own perspective and decided not to close it down partly because it is not favourable to shut a diplomatic route," the official said.

Japan's own embassy in Baghdad is shut and officials are concerned that closing the Iraqi mission in Tokyo would cut direct communication with Iraq about Japanese nationals in that country.

There were currently 46 Japanese in Iraq, most of them journalists, as of yesterday, according to foreign ministry figures.

Foreign ministry press secretary Hatsuhisa Takashima said on Monday the United States had asked Japan to close the Iraqi embassy last week.

Japan supports the US-led military strike on Iraq but Takashima said "to allow other countries to open embassies or consulate-general offices is a matter to be decided by the host country.


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