The Guardian May 5, 2004


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."

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