KOGA Says! RENGO's Statement by General Secretary
Statement opposing the extension of the Air Self Defense Force mission in Iraq
08 December 2006
RENGO’s Statement by General Secretary Koga
- Today the Cabinet approved an amendment to the master plan for the implementation of the ‘law on special measures to assist Iraq’s recovery’. The amendment extends the time limit on the plan until next July that is the time the law will expire, thus extending the legal basis for the Air Self Defense Force’s present mission. RENGO is strongly opposed to this government decision and demands immediate withdrawal of the force.
- As has been reported in the media, terrorist acts in Iraq, due to religious sectarianism, are becoming more and more violent. A series of terrorist bombings taking place in the capital, Baghdad, on November 24 killed over 160 people, which is the worst day of violence so far. It is estimated that over 52,000 Iraqi civilians have been killed since the war began. The UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan even said in a BBC interview that the situation in Iraq is ‘worse than civil war.’
- Republican Party losses in the mid-term Congress elections (held on November 5) translate as criticism of the Bush Administration’s Iraq policy and led to the replacement of Defense Secretary, Donald Rumsfeld and the US Ambassador to the UN, John Bolton.
The report of the federal bipartisan advisory body known as the ‘Iraq Study Group,’ released on December 6, expresses a very serious analysis of the situation, claiming that government disintegration and humanitarian catastrophe are distinct possibilities and recommends that American troops should be withdrawn in stages by March 2008. It makes clear that the Bush Administration’s Iraq policy has been a failure.
- The Iraq War is an infringement of the UN Constitution, started, as it was, despite the absence of a resolution from the Security Council. Furthermore, the weapons of mass destruction that Iraq was presumed to possess have not materialized, thus discounting the whole reason for starting the war in the first place. There are criticisms of the war within the US and strong calls for a change in policy.
Despite all this, Prime Minister Abe stated that Japan decided, on its own judgment, to continue with operations in Iraq. It is especially regrettable that the government has made the decision to extend the Air Self Defense Force mission in Iraq, despite Iraq being in a state of civil war, which contradicts the prerequisite conditions of dispatching the SDF, set out in the ‘Iraq recovery law.’
RENGO will continue to strongly demand the immediate revision of the government’s Iraq policy.