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Japan will call for international unity in dealing with growing security concerns, including the crisis in Iraq and North Korea’s nuclear weapons program, says the Foreign Ministry’s annual “blue book” draft, which was submitted to the ruling Liberal Democratic Party on Friday for endorsement.

The report says the Iraq situation is unpredictable, adding, “It is essential for the international community, including Japan, to maintain unity in dealing with the issue.”

The report on diplomatic and related activities in the past fiscal year was presented Friday to a meeting of the LDP’s committees on foreign affairs. The blue book will be submitted to the Cabinet in early April before it is made public.

The report expresses concern on the split in the U.N. Security Council over the Iraq crisis.

“We have observed that the stance of the United States differs from that of France and Germany,” it says.

On North Korea, the report says that country’s apparent development of nuclear weapons is “a very serious security concern.”

“We will persist in our efforts to encourage North Korea” to engage in efforts to resolve major issues, it says.

Japan will seek a peaceful resolution by promoting cooperation with the U.S. and South Korea as well as China and Russia, according to the report.

The report also says the international community faced a variety of critical issues in 2002 and made efforts to strengthen cooperation.

It says progress was made to improve relations between Japan and North Korea, with the adoption of a joint declaration between Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and North Korean leader Kim Jong Il at their summit in Pyongyang in September.

The report says, however, that the public was enraged by information provided by Pyongyang that many Japanese nationals who were abducted by North Korea were dead.

During the summit in September, Kim claimed his country had abducted 13 Japanese but told Koizumi that eight of them had died.

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