A teenager collects 5,300 signatures calling for Japan's non-military support to Iraq

A high school student has collected about 5,300 signatures in support of her petition demanding that Prime Minister Koizumi Jun'ichiro support Iraq's reconstruction without using the military.

Imamura Ayumi, an 18-year-old high school student from Miyazaki Prefecture, visited the Cabinet Office on February 2 to submit the signatures which she collected last December.

She stated in her petition, "In order to solve the Iraq problem peacefully and to protect the people from being hurt, we urge you to be courageous enough to take action as a prime minister responsible for the security of every citizen of Japan."

Emphasizing that a peaceful solution to the problem is essential and that patient efforts in support of Iraq's reconstruction will help overcome terrorism, the petition said, "We take pride in Article 9 and call for a peaceful solution in order to end the cycle of violence."

Asking her friends for support by letters and e-mails, Imamura succeeded in attracting attention of people living in other prefectures by word of mouth. "Japan should help the Iraqi people without considering its national interests or its relationship with the U.S. This is the message I wanted to deliver to Prime Minister Koizumi," said Imamura. (end)

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