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Team packing gas masks

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TOKYO ? Amid continued terrorism jitters around the world, Japan's Olympic team has decided to bring its own gas masks to the Winter Games in Salt Lake City, an official said Tuesday.

The Japan Olympic Committee has taken up an offer by a gas mask maker to provide Japanese athletes with 100 free masks, said Tadahiko Fukushima, a JOC executive official.

Fukushima said the JOC accepted the gift more out of gratitude to the maker and to reassure the athletes than out of any real terrorism fears.

"The masks are for easing the athletes' minds and because of the maker's goodwill," Fukushima said, adding that the manufacturer pitched the masks as a new compact version that wouldn't take up a lot of luggage space.

"We didn't think we really needed to bring gas masks," Fukushima said.

In any case, Fukushima said, there won't be enough masks for all 200 athletes in Japan's Olympic contingent.

Fukushima said the JOC's kit of anthrax antibiotics will only be a little bit larger at the Salt Lake Games than at past Winter Olympics.