How extraordinary it is for Koizumi Cabinet to be counted on by U.S. -- Akahata editorial, August 29

U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage was in Japan for talks with Japan's prime minister, Defense Agency director general, and ruling coalition party secretaries general. In these meetings he called on Japan to assist the U.S. in attacks on Iraq, saying that he wants Japan to discuss U.S. actions to eradicate terrorism.

The Defense Agency director general stated, "That would be possible provided that it is carried out within the legal framework of the Antiterrorism Special Measures Law."

Prime Minister Koizumi, who endorsed possible U.S. attack on Iraq in his talks with U.S. President Bush in February, says he will discuss the matter with Bush at a summit scheduled for September 12.

The growing danger is that the Koizumi Cabinet will rush to assist the U.S. in attacks on Iraq instead of opposing it.

What the U.S. deputy secretary of state expects from Japan

The U.S. Bush administration's talk about possible attacks on Iraq is getting increasingly dangerous.

When Armitage was in Japan, U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld stressed the need for U.S. preemptive strikes against Iraq, saying, "...the entire world must know that we will take whatever action is necessary," and "The risk of inaction is far greater than the risk of action."

These moves by U.S. Bush administration are against the United Nations Charter and completely undermine the framework of peace established by the international community.

The U.N. Charter only allows U.N. member states to use force when an armed attack occurs against them; it does not allow any U.N. members to make preemptive strikes against another.

The Bush administration is calling for the overthrow of the Iraqi regime. It amounts to interfering in the internal affairs of Iraq in violation of the U.N. Charter which prohibits such action.

The U.N. Security Council resolution providing for conditions of ceasefire in the Gulf War calls for Iraq to take measures to destroy weapons of mass destruction, not a change of regime.

The U.S. Department of Defense in its recently published annual report suggested the possibility of preemptive strikes against Iraq, even with the use of nuclear weapons, saying that the United States will "use every means at its disposal to defeat him (the enemy) ... to achieve victory."

Military strikes against Iraq would inevitably drag the whole of the Middle East region into war and cause immeasurable damage to the entire world. This explains why national governments are opposed to the reckless war plan.

The U.S. Bush administration is isolated from the rest of the world. Stark opposition is voiced by Germany and other U.S. allies in Europe as well as Saudi Arabia, which served as a forward base in the Middle East for the multinational forces in the Gulf War. In the United States, criticisms have even come from ruling Republican Party leaders.

Against this backdrop, the Bush administration counts on the Koizumi Cabinet's submission to the United States. Armitage tried to get Japan to stop short of following Germany in opposing the U.S. war plan.

In his meeting with the ruling coalition party secretary generals, Armitage stressed the need for Japan to assist the U.S. in attacks against Iraq, the reason being that the Japan-U.S. military alliance is important.

Secretaries general of the Liberal Democratic and Komei parties neither objected to the idea of attacking Iraq nor rejected cooperation. They just made symbolic reference to the limitations under the Antiterorism Special Measures Law to deal with terrorism and a possible new U.N. resolution.

The Koizumi Cabinet and the ruling parties express understanding of and cooperation with a U.S. attack on Iraq as Japan's obligation under the Japan-U.S. military alliance. This is their way of undeclared expansion of Japan's participation in the U.S. military attack against Afghanistan into support for U.S. Iraq attack. This amounts to Japan becoming a partner in destroying the peace framework by the U.S. Bush administration.

Rally international opinion

The situation does not allow us to think little of the danger of a possible U.S. attack on Iraq. It is essentially necessary to get public opinion in the world to oppose the war being enlarged, just as Japanese Communist Party Chair Shii Kazuo pointed out.

The Japanese people, whose earnest call for peace was manifested in their foiling the contingency bills in the last Diet session, must work even harder to foil this plan too. (end)