SDF may crack down on protests in Iraq

Japan's defense chief says he does not rule out the possibility that the Japanese Self-Defense Forces to be sent to Iraq under the law on assistance in Iraq's reconstruction, if enacted, may crack down on Iraqi protests against the U.S.-led occupation.

Defense Agency Director General Ishiba Shigeru stated this at a House of Councilors Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee meeting on July 17 in answer to Koike Akira, Japanese Communist Party representative.

If SDF units are to assist the U.S. forces in mopping up remnants of the former Iraqi regime or in suppressing public demonstrations, they will be put at high risk of being attacked, Koike stressed.

Stressing that the bill is unconstitutional in allowing the SDF to use force jointly with the U.S. forces in Iraq, Koike demanded that the bill be scrapped. (end)

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