Prime minister discusses SDF prolonged Iraq mission with opposition leaders

With the Diet in recess, Prime Minister Koizumi Jun'ichiro met on December 9 with heads of three opposition parties, the Japanese Communist Party, the Democratic Party of Japan and the Social Democratic Party,to discuss the issue of extending the Self-Defense Forces deployment in Iraq.

Pointing out that there's no rationale behind sending the SDF to Iraq, JCP Chair Shii Kazuo demanded that the SDF withdraw from Iraq because they only help the U.S. forces in their armed suppression of Iraqi citizens.

The abduction by North Korea was also discussed in the meeting. JCP Chair Shii handed the prime minister a statement pointing out that the government must improve the way bilateral talks are held with North Korea over the abduction issue (See separate item for the full text of the JCP request).

The prime minister stated, "Dialogue and pressure must go together. It is no good to discontinue talks. The need now is for more talks." (end)

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