Japan approves dispatch of forces to Iraq
Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's cabinet on Tuesday approved the dispatch of about 1,000 soldiers to aid in the reconstruction of Iraq, the biggest deployment
of Japanese forces overseas since World War II.
In a special session, the Cabinet approved the dispatch of
troops to southeastern Iraq to restore water services,
offer medical and other humanitarian assistance and help
rebuild schools and other infrastructure.
The dispatch, due to begin over the next month, will
involve elements of Japan's land, sea and air forces.
Following the Cabinet meeting, Koizumi went before the
nation to explain why he is pushing ahead with the
controversial plan, which opposition leaders say could draw
the troops into combat and violate Japan's postwar pacifist
"We are not going to war," Koizumi said. "The situation
in Iraq is severe. We know it is not necessarily safe. But
our Self-Defense Forces must still fulfill this mission." (Albawaba.com)
© 2003 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)