Premier Koizumi Expresses Solidarity With Countries Supporting Disarmament of Iraq


by Ivan Zakharchenko

TOKYO, February 17, 2003. /From RIA Novosti correspondent /. — The Japanese government, which supports a military solution to the Iraqi problem, has dissociated itself from a rally against war in Iraq that swept across the country over the weekend.

Anti-military actions throughout the world can only give "a wrong signal" to Baghdad, Japan’s Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi said on Monday.

"They’d better be careful or Iraq may start to think it is acting right," said the premier.

Instead of that, the world community must appeal to Baghdad to "quickly and fully cooperate" with international inspectors.

In his opinion, such cooperation has so far been "insufficient," in accordance with a recent statement made by the United Nations general inspector Hans Blix. Blix’s team found no mass destruction weapons in Iraq, and he told the UN Security Council the inspections must go on.

During the weekend, Tokyo and Hiroshima were the scenes of anti-military rallies involving a total of about 7,000 people.

Koizumi’s opinion was upheld by Yasuo Fukuda, the Cabinet of Ministers secretary, who said Iraq was too slow to make concessions even though it was given its last chance to disarm of its own accord. "We have been witnessing this for more than 10 years," he stressed.

Fukuda urged the world community to assume a "unanimous rigid position" in respect of Iraq so that the problem could be solved by peaceful means.

Earlier, Japanese media reported that Tokyo might support the USA even in the case of the latter’s one-sided decision to deal a blow to Iraq, on the single condition that the United Nations Security Council discovered gross violations of mass destruction weapons resolutions on the part of Baghdad.

Last week, the Japanese foreign ministry recommended all Japanese working in Iraq that they leave the country immediately.