SDF troops will obstruct NGO activities in Iraq

Non-government organizations (NGOs) and Japanese citizens organizations involved in humanitarian assistance to Iraq on July 4 expressed opposition to sending the Self-Defense Forces to Iraq, saying that the SDF will go to Iraq only to obstruct the peaceful effort to rebuild Iraq.

They stated this at a press conference in the Diet building on July 4, the day that the Iraq bill was passed in the House of Representatives.

A representative of the Japan International Volunteer Center said, "Men in uniforms can't perform humanitarian assistance. We are making efforts to build mutual trust based on a neutral position without being bound by military and political considerations."

A Japan office representative of OXFAM International supporting the Iraqi people with water and hygienic services expressed concern that the sight of SDF troops in Iraq will harm Japan's image of neutrality, while Iraqi people's animosity towards occupation forces are increasing.

A participant said that every place can turn into a combat zone wherever men with firearms go. Another said that the SDF in Iraq means that the world's biggest military force and the world's second largest military-budgeted force will have Iraq under their occupation. (end)

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