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Mohammad Ali-Hassan, governor of the Iraqi province of al-Muthanna, has canceled a visit to Japan that was due to start Sunday, according to the Foreign Ministry.

“Considering the current situation I would rather concentrate on local administrative work for the time being,” Hassan was quoted as telling the ministry.

He expressed hope that he would visit Japan next month or later, the ministry said.

Hassan apparently sees the need to remain in al-Muthanna because of the worsening security situation in the region, a ministry source said.

Iraqi authorities have expressed fear that militia loyal to Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr may take action in the province.

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