(Provisional Translation)

Statement by Prime Minister Koizumi
(Extension of the Basic Plan of the Special Measures Law for Humanitarian and Reconstruction Assistance in Iraq)

December 8 2005

The Japanese Government today made a decision to continue the activities of the Self Defense Forces (SDF) for humanitarian and reconstruction assistance, by revising the Basic Plan on the measures based on the Special Measures Law on Humanitarian and Reconstruction Assistance in Iraq.

The humanitarian and reconstruction activities carried out by the SDF have restored and enhanced the foundation of the lives of local residents, and created employment there. The activities are highly appreciated by the local people as well as the Iraqi Transitional Government, as the gratitude for the past assistance and the request for continuation of the SDF activities were expressed by Prime Minister Al-Jaafari and Foreign Minister Zebari.

The process of democratization and building of a new country by the Iraqi people are presently at a critical juncture. If the election for the National Assembly based on the new Constitution, which is scheduled on December 15, is carried out successfully and the establishment of a new government proceeds, this will become a significant progress toward a genuine democratization of Iraq. In the international community, 28 countries are acting in the Multinational Forces (MNF) and coordination of international community is well maintained. The United Nations Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 1637 which extended the mandate of the MNF until the end of 2006. Japan should take responsibility as a member of the international community by extending as much assistance as possible in order to realize a democratic and stable government by the people of Iraq.

Not allowing Iraq to become a hotbed of terrorism but rather reconstructing Iraq as a peaceful and democratic country has a significant meaning for the stability of the international community, and this meets our own national interest.

Based on such consideration, we extended the duration of the dispatch of the Self Defense Forces for another year until December 14 next year. The government will act appropriately regarding the activities of the SDF over this term of dispatch, by carefully evaluating the progress of the political process in Iraq, security situation on the ground, and the activities and changes of posture of the MNF as well as considering the level of progress of reconstruction in the area.

The security situation in Al-Samawah has been relatively stable in comparison with other regions, while we cannot prejudge the situation. In continuing activities of the SDF, we will take every measure to ensure its security, by continuing to make full efforts in information gathering on local security situation, taking surveillance and guard upon the surrounding areas as well as by enhancing protection of the facilities in the Camp.

I sincerely ask for your understanding of and support to this decision of the Government.

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