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Japan Seeks 'Olympic Truce' From U.S.

Associated Press
Saturday, February 7, 1998; 3:31 a.m. EST


TOKYO — Japan has appealed to the United States to avoid military action against Iraq during the Olympic Games in Nagano, the Foreign Ministry said today.

Foreign Minister Keizo Obuchi asked Secretary of State Madeleine Albright on Friday to show restraint and pledged Japan's support for diplomatic efforts to resolve the dispute with Iraq over U.N. weapons inspections.

Albright responded by asking for Japan's support of a U.S.-led campaign to force Iraq to abide by the inspections, the ministry said in a statement.

The inspections are being conducted to determine whether Iraq is hiding weapons of mass destruction. Severe economic sanctions against Iraq will not be lifted unless the United Nations is satisfied that Iraq's chemical, nuclear and biological weapons have been dismantled.

Earlier Friday, Obuchi conveyed Japan's concerns in calls to British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook and French Foreign Minister Hubert Vedrine.

Japan wants its allies to follow a nonbinding resolution the U.N. passed in November urging all countries to avoid taking up arms during the Olympics, which opened today.

© Copyright 1998 The Associated Press

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