Japan gov't spokesman warns justice minister over al-Qaida remark

Japan's top government spokesman warned the justice minister Tuesday to be more careful in his public comments following his assertion this week that he had a friend of a friend in the al-Qaida terrorist group. Justice Minister Kunio Hatoyama told reporters on Monday that the unidentified terrorist had entered Japan many times with disguises and false passports, proving the country needed to fingerprint and photograph arriving foreigners. Chief Cabinet Secretary Nobutaka Machimura said it was clear that Hatoyama did not directly know the al-Qaida member, but he urged Hatoyama before a Cabinet meeting Tuesday to be more careful in his remarks. "I fear his comments could lead to misunderstanding," Machimura told reporters. "It would be unfortunate if it was thought that Japan's justice minister had contacts with terrorists."