Japan's Self-Defense Forces in Iraq are part of occupation forces: Coalition Provisional Authority

Paul Bremer, administrator of the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq, in a letter to Uemura Tsukasa, minister of the Japanese embassy in Baghdad, Iraq, clearly stated that the Japanese Self-Defense Forces in Iraq "will be treated as Coalition Personnel."

The letter, dated December 12, 2003, was revealed by Shii Kazuo, Japanese Communist Party chair, during his speech at the House of Representatives Plenary Session on January 22.

It also said that SDF personnel are "immune from arrest, detention or legal proceedings in the Iraqi courts or other Iraqi bodies, whether criminal, civil, administrative or other in nature.

Expressing thanks to the Japanese government for its basic program to send the SDF to Iraq, the letter indicated that SDF personnel will come "under the direction or control of the CPA."

Pointing out the government's stated view has been that the Constitution prohibits Japan from taking part in military occupation in other countries because it amounts to exercising the right of belligerency, Shii asked Koizumi for clarification on this issue.

Prime Minister Koizumi Jun'ichiro answered, "The SDF will act on their own and will not assist in the occupation administration," but gave no specific grounds for making this assertion. (end)

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