Japan kneels to US demands for money, troops
After tremendous arm-twisting of many countries, the Japanese government remains one of the few willing to send troops to bail the US out in Iraq. Even the government of Turkey that had taken a decision to send up to 15,000 troops is now getting cold feet. The conservative Japanese government of Koizumi is proposing to grant US$1.5 billion to Iraq for the fiscal year 2004 and to send troops in a couple of months. The Japanese government is estimating to spend US$5 billion until the year 2007 for Iraq. This is despite the fact that the finances of the Japanese government are showing a considerable deficit. For the first Gulf war in 1991 Japan bailed out the US to the tune of US$14 billion. The Koizumi leadership is attempting to circumvent Japan's constitution which prohibits the deployment of Japanese troops abroad. The right-wing political leadership of Japan and military circles would dearly love to be able to renew the drive for conquest of the Asia-Pacific region that motivated its drive to war in the 1940s. On this occasion it is being encouraged by the US leadership who see Japan as a counter-weight to the emergence of socialist China. Reckless A statement by the Socialist Party of Japan strongly opposes the decisions of the Koizumi government. "We staunchly oppose this reckless act taken by the government of Japan which extends fully-fledged services to the US military operations. "The ground troops are preparing to go to Iraq without Diet consultation, nor official decision of the government. The official claim that the fund is for electricity, water, health services, child care and school education and improvement of social security cannot be justified ... This is to give money to a thief." The Socialist Party statement says, "the US President, appearing with full smiles on his face and, behind that, enforcing war and atrocities, is a shameless bloody, neo-conservative figure". At the same time, Japan's Prime Minister, has stated his admiration for "the strong US leadership". The Socialist Party points out that the Koizumi government is ignoring international opinion and the wishes of the Iraqi people who demand the withdrawal of foreign troops and the recovery of the nation's sovereignty.