Opposition to Japan's Defence Forces in Iraq
Opposition to Japan's participation in the occupation of Iraq is growing stronger and broader. The Japanese Bar Association has called for the withdrawal of Japan's so-called Self-Defence Forces (SDF) from Iraq. The President of the Association says that the government may be dispatching the SDF in violation of Japan's Constitution that prohibits the use of force as a means to solve international disputes in foreign countries. More than 100 doctors from the northernmost Japanese prefecture of Hokkaido have petitioned the Koizumi Government to withdraw the SDF from Iraq. The doctors say that members of the SDF might "suffer from leukemia or cancer as the Iraqi people have as a result of the use of depleted uranium shells by the US military forces." They are also supporting a former conservative politician who has filed a lawsuit calling for a court injunction against the dispatch of the SDF to Iraq. The government claimed that the Japanese contingent would to be involved only in humanitarian and reconstruction assistance but it has been revealed that SDF transport units are involved in transporting troops of occupation forces and weapons. The three Japanese citizens taken hostage for a short time in Iraq returned to Japan but instead of receiving a warm welcome for their safe return Japan's Prime Minister Koizumi said, "I have nothing to say to them". The subservient stand of the Japanese Government in going all the way with the USA received a warm endorsement from US Vice- President, Dick Cheney. On a recent visit he told the Japanese Prime Minister that "Japan's policy on Iraq is on the right course and we appreciate it." Koizumi replied: "I believe in the United States' great cause and continued goodwill." The Japanese Government is introducing legislation into the Diet (parliament) enabling it to mobilise the Japanese public for US wars outside of Japan. The bills allow Japan to take unlimited actions in support of US forces even when Japan is not attacked or when such an attack may be just predicted. The bills (seven in all) would grant US and Japanese military the use of public facilities such as sea and airports, roads, sea lanes, air zones, TV and radio facilities. Akamine Seiken, a Communist Party of Japan member of Japan's House of Representatives in opposing the legislation said that, "Contrary to its title, the 'public protection bill' is aimed at excluding residents from areas needed for operations by the US forces and the SDF incorporating the public in a mobilisation system even in peacetime."