TOKYO (AP) _ President Clinton, answering Japan's appeal that the United States not spoil the Olympics with an attack on Iraq, told Japan he could not rule out any option in the crisis, the Foreign Ministry said today.

Japan has been pressing the United States to follow a nonbinding resolution the U.N. passed in November urging all countries to avoid taking up arms during the Olympics, which opened today in Nagano.

Foreign Minister Keizo Obuchi asked Secretary of State Madeleine Albright on Friday to show restraint and pledged Japan's support for diplomatic efforts to resolve the dispute with Iraq over U.N. weapons inspections.

Albright responded by asking for Japan's support of a U.S.-led campaign to force Iraq to abide by the inspections, the ministry said in a statement today.

The inspections are being conducted to determine whether Iraq is hiding weapons of mass destruction. Severe economic sanctions against Iraq will not be lifted unless the United Nations is satisfied that Iraq's chemical, nuclear and biological weapons have been dismantled.

On Wednesday, Clinton sent a letter to Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimto saying the United States could not limit its options, the Foreign Ministry disclosed.

Hashimoto wrote back a reply criticizing Iraq's response to the U.N. as a challenge to international society, but adding that all efforts should be exhausted in achieving a diplomatic solution.