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The government on Thursday issued a stronger official warning advising travelers to refrain from making sightseeing and other nonessential trips to Indonesia until conditions in the country stabilize, Chief Cabinet Secretary Kanezo Muraoka told a regular press conference.

The warning was upgraded from a lower-level travel advisory issued earlier simply recommending that Japanese nationals in Indonesia take care. “We advise people residing in Indonesia to take care of themselves and not to get involved in dangerous events,” said the top government spokesman.

Several Japanese companies in the area are also taking steps to urge the families of employees in the country to move out by the end of the month, as Jakarta and other Indonesian cities are shaken by protests, rioting and gunfire arising from its unstable economic condition.

About 13,000 Japanese nationals reside in Indonesia and there are another 7,000 Japanese tourists there at present, Muraoka said. People residing there are being advised to stay clear of college campuses, where students are staging protests, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Meanwhile, Vice Finance Minister Koji Tanami said the same day that Japan should not suspend financial aid to Indonesia simply because of the worsening riots. Rioting has erupted only as a result of Indonesia’s attempt to comply with the strict austerity conditions set by the International Monetary Fund in return for a financial aid package, Tanami told a regular news conference. Jakarta’s announcement of a hike in public utility rates led to the unrest.

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