PARIS — Japan issued a travel alert for Europe on Monday, joining the United States and Britain in warning of a possible terrorist attack by al-Qaida or other groups, but tourists appeared to be taking the mounting warnings in stride.
The Foreign Ministry in Tokyo urged Japanese citizens to be cautious when using public transport or visiting popular tourist sites, heightening the possibility of damage to Europe’s tourism industry.
European authorities tightened efforts to keep the public safe in the wake of warnings by officials in several countries that the terrorism threat is high and extra vigilance is warranted.
On Monday, French authorities arrested a man in his 50s who is suspected of several bomb threats in Paris, including one at a railway hub, a police official said. The man, who was not identified, was detained southwest of the capital on suspicions of links to a phone-in threat at the Saint-Lazare train station.
French authorities have recorded nine bomb alerts in the capital last month, including at the Eiffel Tower — a threefold increase from a year earlier. No explosives were found.
The U.S. State Department alert Sunday advised the hundreds of thousands of American citizens living or travelling in Europe to take more precaution about their personal security. The British Foreign Office warned travellers to France and Germany that the terror threat in the countries was high.
Security officials say terrorists may be plotting attacks in Europe with assault weapons on public places, similar to the deadly 2008 shooting spree in Mumbai, India.
Business travellers and tourists arriving at Paris’ Charles de Gaulle airport from the United States on Monday said they were aware of the new warnings from authorities but weren’t changing their plans.
“I’m very happy to be here in France. I think we’re very safe, and I trust the French government to keep us safe,” said James O’Connell, a 59-year-old from Pittsburgh, arriving in Paris for a 7-day vacation.
Karen Bilh, a 39-year-old traveller from Cincinnati, arrived Monday in Paris for a vacation. “We’ll pay extra caution and if there’s terror threats, we’ll listen to police in the area. We’re excited about the trip,” she said.
Travellers taking the Eurostar trains between London and Paris were similarly determined not to let the warnings disrupt their plans.
Jennifer D’Antoni, who owns a retail clothing store in Britain, was in Paris to celebrate her birthday.
“I had a wonderful time and I’ll come back again. In fact, I wish I was here for another day because I didn’t get to see everything. We are just going to be a bit more cautious getting on the train,” she said.