SDF advance team to Samawah was tasked to collect material showing residents' 'welcome'

The Japanese government has assigned the Self-Defense Forces' advance team to Samawah in Iraq to gather material showing how hospitable Samawah residents are to the SDF.

Japanese Communist Party Akamine Seiken revealed the government's internal document in question at the House of Representatives special committee meeting on January 29. The meeting was discussing an approval of the SDF dispatch to Iraq.

The document was entitled, "On the recent situation in Iraq and preparations for deployment of Ground SDF units (to Samawah)". It included communication records handled by the Defense Agency Defense Operations Division on January 20 and the Foreign Ministry National Security Policy Division on January 21.

The communication records show that both ministries directed the SDF dispatch team to gather information showing that (1) the Samawah City Council is awaiting the arrival of the SDF and (2) Samawah's citizens are cooperative in maintaining the public order. It even carried a statement made by Samawah City Council chair prior to a meeting with the SDF team.

"Contrary to Prime Minister Koizumi Jun'ichiro's statement that the government was very circumspect in examining the situation in preparation for the SDF dispatch, the government had already decided to send the GSDF. The GSDF advance team was only told to collect material favorable to the dispatch decision," Akamine stressed.

"This is why the advance team was unaware that the Samawah City Council was shut down and that the government made a false report to the parliament," he said and urged the government to acknowledge the document. The Defense Agency Director General Ishiba Shigeru refused to make any research on the document.

Ishiba referred to the city council chair as 'chairman', 'acting chairman,' and 'representative.' "You made false statements," Akamine said to Ishiba.

Objection to government answers by opposition Dietmembers led to a suspension of the meeting for a while. However, the House of Representatives in its plenary and committee meetings on January 30 approved the government's SDF dispatch bill. (end)

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