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The number of Japanese nationals in Iraq totaled 32 as of 1 p.m. Saturday, Japan time, with seven serving as human shields in protest of the U.S.-led war on Iraq, the Foreign Ministry said.

Senior Vice Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi told a news conference that the government had been able to contact all of the Japanese nationals in Iraq before the U.S.-led forces conducted a massive air bombardment Friday night but has not been able to confirm their safety since the start of the air strikes.

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