Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi on Tuesday cast doubt on plans to dispatch Japanese troops to Iraq, saying a controversial law just enacted made the move possible but did not mean it was certain.
After two days of debate, parliament on Saturday approved the law, which critics say could violate Japan's constitution.
With more attacks against U.S. forces in Iraq, public concern in Japan is growing about the potential risk to Japanese soldiers.
"The bill is not one that requires the sending of Self-Defence Forces...it's a bill that allows the dispatch of the SDF," Koizumi told a news conference to mark the end of the latest parliamentary session.
If Japanese forces do go to Iraq, Koizumi reiterated that troops would only be sent to non-combat areas and that the government would give proper consideration to their safety. He disclosed the government would conduct surveys by experts to determine the size and timing of any force sent to Iraq. It should be noted that a recent poll indicated that more than half of Japanese voters oppose the move to send troops to Iraq. (Albawaba.com)
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