SDF dispatch law hampers humanitarian aid in Iraq

Warning that dispatching the Self-Defense Forces to Iraq will hamper ongoing humanitarian assistance to Iraq, Japanese Communist Party representative Ogata Yasuo demanded that the government withdraw the bill to send the SDF to Iraq and turn to non-military measures. He was speaking at the House of Councilors allied committee meeting on July 9.

Ogata mentioned the guidelines the United Nations drew up last March claiming that humanitarian assistance to Iraq should be based on principles of humanitarianism, neutrality, and impartiality.

The guidelines stipulate that if military forces are committed to assistance to Iraq, those working under the U.N., with NGOs, and even Iraqi people at supply sites may be targeted by 'opponents.'

Referring to the JCP survey team's activities in Iraq, Ogata pointed out that it is highly probable that SDF units in Iraq in support of the occupation forces will be targeted by anti-occupation forces.

Ogata insisted that the SDF can not truly engage in humanitarian assistance in Iraq. If the government dares to dispatch the SDF, it will violate the UN guidelines, he said.

Foreign Minister Kawaguchi Yoriko stated that the SDF dispatch is legitimate under UNSC Resolution 1483. Ogata rebuffed her by saying that Resolution 1483 does not call for sending troops to carry out humanitarian aid to Iraq. Contrary to the government's stated purpose, the bill intends to directly support the U.S. and British occupation forces, Ogata stressed.

SDF needs to engage in overseas dispatch as major task: chief cabinet secretary

Now that international peace cooperation activities have become one of the major missions of the SDF, its overseas deployment should be regarded as one of the major SDF missions, stated Chief Cabinet Secretary Fukuda Yasuo during the Upper House allied committee meeting on July 9.

Fukuda openly hinted that a permanent law instead of case-by-case legislation is needed to allow the overseas dispatch of the SDF.

Fukuda also hinted at placing importance on the December 2002 report by his advisory body (chaired by Akashi Yasushi, former UN deputy secretary general), which called for the SDF to take part in multinational forces. (end)

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