The Guardian November 5, 2003


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.

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