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The Foreign Ministry issued a travel advisory Thursday recommending that Japanese nationals in Baghdad leave the Iraqi capital, given the intensifying war rhetoric and apparent preparations around the country.

“U.S. and British forces are strengthening their military forces in the (Persian) Gulf area . . . and there is a possibility that in the worst case, military action against Iraq will begin,” the ministry said.

The travel advisory does not affect the ministry’s rating of the danger level for Baghdad. The ministry retained the second-highest level of recommending postponing visits to the city.

The ministry is considering issuing the highest level of strongly advising evacuation and closely following discussions at the U.N. Security Council. U.N. inspectors will report their assessment of Iraq’s compliance with U.N. disarmament demands to the United Nations next Monday.

The ministry also renewed an advisory for Japanese nationals to be fully cautious in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia and issued the same advisory for Japanese in Bahrain.

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