Cabinet spokesman raps anti-SDF dispatch sentiment

The chief cabinet secretary has criticized public opposition to the dispatch of Self-Defense Forces to Iraq by saying, "They cannot avoid risks."

Fukuda Yasuo at a regular news conference on December 12 said, "I think now is the time to rethink if it's appropriate to just say 'dangerous zones should be avoided' or 'the SDF shouldn't go to such a place." The question is whether we can keep our arms crossed and do nothing even under the present circumstances, Fukuda added.

Akahata of December 13 pointed out that Fukuda's argument conflicts with the promise repeatedly made by Prime Minister Koizumi Jun'ichiro that the government would take the utmost care for the safety of the SDF. His argument also indicates that the Koizumi Cabinet takes a hostile view toward public opinion and casually breaks the promise to the public, said Akahata.

The recent opinion poll shows that 55 to 63 percent of respondents say they oppose the SDF dispatch to Iraq, and 32 to 34 percent support the SDF dispatch. (end)

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