French President Jacques Chirac has canceled a visit to Japan scheduled for mid-March, saying he will stay at home because of the tense international situation, Japanese government officials said Wednesday.

Chirac, who informed Japan of the cancellation through a diplomatic channel, was scheduled to take part in the ministerial meeting of the third World Water Forum, which begins March 16 in Kyoto, and to hold talks with Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi.

France, Germany and Russia presented a joint proposal to the U.N. Security Council on Monday calling for stepping up U.N. weapons inspections in Iraq and extending the inspections for four months.

The United States, Britain and Spain submitted a separate resolution declaring Iraq was in breach of U.N. Resolution 1441. On Saturday, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell urged Koizumi to ask France to cooperate with the passage of the resolution sponsored by the U.S., Britain and Spain.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.