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Japan and the United States agreed Thursday to launch a pilot project to mutually dispatch customs officials to prevent bombs and other dangerous items from being shipped to their countries in cargo containers.

The agreement is in line with international efforts under the Container Security Initiative, initiated by the U.S. in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, a Finance Ministry official said.

Under the bilateral agreement, the U.S. will dispatch customs officials to four major ports — Kobe, Nagoya, Tokyo and Yokohama — to help identify dangerous container cargo.

Japan is still deciding the U.S. ports to which it will dispatch customs officials. The pilot project is expected to begin in November and will run for a six-month period, according to the ministry.

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