Japan's Prime Minister vows to dispatch forces to Iraq despite strong public opposition
Japan's Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi Tuesday defended America's policy in Iraq and vowed to send troops to help reconstruct the war-torn country despite strong public opposition.
Koizumi's defence of US President Bush's Iraq policy came as a new poll showed just 10 percent of Japanese citizens backed plans to dispatch troops to Iraq in the current unstable environment.
"I do not think the Bush administration is dangerous at all. It is sincerely engaged in reconstruction efforts in Iraq, in good faith with a sense of justice," Koizumi told parliament.
"Considering Japan's alliance with the United States, cooperation with the international community and Japan's national interest, we have to help establish a democratic, stable government in Iraq," Koizumi said.
"To achieve that goal, we must offer financial assistance as well as human resources. If the military can help, I would like to order their dispatch."
The prime minister was responding to criticism from Naoto Kan, head of opposition Democratic Party, in their first parliamentary clash since he was returned to power in this month's general elections.
According to AFP, Kan accused Koizumi of merely trying to "save face" by pushing ahead with a promise to Washington to send Japanese troops to Iraq despite widespread public opposition.
Koizumi said the situation in Iraq had not reached the point where Japan had decided to give up on the idea of sending troops.
The Prime Minister's firm position on the issue is not popular among the public, according to a new survey Tuesday by the Sankei Shimbun newspaper and Fuji News Network.
The survey said only 10 percent of Japanese support sending troops to Iraq while the current instability continues. (Albawaba.com)
© 2003 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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