Japan warned its citizens on Monday against a possible attack in six Southeast Asian countries, urging them to stay away from religious sites.
The Japanese foreign ministry said it had obtained information that “there are increased risks such as suicide bombings.”
This rare warning applies to Japanese citizens in Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Myanmar.
None of these countries can be considered a rival or enemy of Japan, and relations between Tokyo and most of them are relatively stable.
Over the past decades, Japan has led a successful diplomatic campaign to bolster its influence in the Southeast Asian region to counter China’s similar assertive strategy through economic cooperation, alternative connectivity initiatives, and security engagements.
This is why Monday’s warning sent shockwaves in several of these nations.
The website of the Japanese embassy in Malaysia issued an alert on Monday morning.
“There is information that there is an increasing possibility that suicide bomb attacks will occur in places where many people gather, such as places of worship,” it said
“We ask all Japanese residents to remain vigilant against terrorist attacks,” it added
The statement asked Japanese residents to avoid visiting places that could be possible targets, including “Western-owned” facilities such as restaurants and hotels.