A Protest against a Basic Plan to Dispatch Self-Defence Forces

9 December 2003

Tadayoshi KUSANO
General Secretary

The Government today approved in an extraordinary Cabinet meeting a basic plan to dispatch Self-Defence Forces (SDF) units to Iraq to engage mainly in humanitarian and reconstruction assistance on the basis of the Special Measures Law supporting the Reconstruction of Iraq.

RENGO protested against use of force without a new UN resolution and requested that the Government of Japan be working for a peaceful resolution at the time of opening an attack on Iraq in March this year. The use of force on Iraq was initiated without an UN resolution and therefore has been questioned about its non-observance of the international law. The existence of weapons of mass destruction was used as the cause of the attack, but has not been proved. Furthermore, sending SDF to Iraq in a state of combat is against the Special Measures Law itself, which the Government has been using as grounds. Therefore, RENGO President Sasamori in his meeting with Prime Minister Koizumi on 3 December this year, when sending SDF became a concrete question, directly communicated to the Prime Minister a message that RENGO was objected to the dispatch of SDF under the present circumstances.

In Iraq now not only U.S and U.K. militaries but also the United Nations, foreign embassies, the Red Cross and NGOs are target of possible attacks. Two of Japanese diplomats were sacrificed in a recent tragedy. Many of Japanese have uneasiness and a doubt about sending SDF under such circumstances. According to public opinion polls, the majority is opposed to the dispatch.

Nevertheless, the Koizumi administration has decided the basic plan. RENGO deeply regrets and vehemently protests against the decision.