Japan: Koizumi trip to Israel still on

Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi is still scheduled to visit Israel and the Middle East later this month, despite escalating violence there, the chief Cabinet spokesman said Monday. "There is no change to the schedule of the prime minister's trip, but we will continue to watch the developments closely," said Chief Cabinet Secretary Shinzo Abe. "Japan is deeply concerned about the recent deterioration of the situation," Abe told reporters. "In order to avoid further deterioration in the situation, we ask both the Palestinian and Israeli sides to exercise maximum self-restraint."