• The Associated Press

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Sendai airport closed a runway and evacuated a jetliner Monday after an unidentified caller claimed to have planted a bomb on board, authorities said. No bomb was found and the runway was later reopened.

The male caller said he put the bomb in luggage on a Japan Airlines Boeing 737 bound for Sapporo from Sendai, prompting officials to scrub the flight and evacuate the plane.

The plane, carrying 49 passengers and five crew members, was taxiing for takeoff at the time of the call, a transport ministry official at the airport said on condition of anonymity.

Authorities searched the plane but found no explosives. Officials also rechecked and X-rayed the luggage.

“So far, no abnormalities have been found,” the ministry official said.

The bomb scare came as Japan is bolstering security ahead of the Sept. 11 Lower House election, mobilizing 13,600 police officers nationwide, especially at airports, major train stations and bus terminals.

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