(Provisional Translation)

Statement by Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi (The Basic Plan regarding the measures based on the Law Concerning the Special Measures on Humanitarian and Reconstruction Assistance in Iraq)

December 9, 2003

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The Cabinet today decided on the Basic Plan regarding the measures based on the Law Concerning the Special Measures on Humanitarian and Reconstruction Assistance in Iraq. This Basic Plan provides the implementation of the activities for humanitarian and reconstruction assistance, including medical services, water supply, rehabilitation and maintenance of utilities and transportation of materials to be carried out by the Units of the Self-Defense Forces (SDF) and the Support Personnel for the Reconstruction of Iraq. The support activities for ensuring security can also be implemented according to this Basic Plan.

The urgent issue in Iraq, whose land and lives had been ruined during the quarter-century of oppression, is to swiftly establish a free and democratic government by the Iraqi people; nearly 40 countries have already sent their troops to provide a variety of assistance. On October 16th, the United Nations Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 1511 to confirm that the international community is united in its efforts to achieve the reconstruction and stability of Iraq. The period until transfer of authority, planned in June next year, will be critically important in paving the way for the reconstruction and stability. Japan is of the view that the United Nations and the international community should play a more active role and wishes to be actively engaged in discussion to that end, arguing for what we should do so.

After the end of the Second World War, our predecessors, maintaining the alliance with the United States and international cooperation, overcame severe misery and hardship to build the present prosperity of Japan. The peace and stability of the whole international community is indispensable for Japan's security and prosperity, as we depend so much on other countries; we thus have to actively contribute to that end.

Reconstructing Iraq is extremely significant for the stability of the entire Middle East and ultimately the international community, and serves the interests of Japan. In addition to financial contribution, we believe it is important to demonstrate to the Iraqi people Japanese assistance provided by the Japanese people. From this viewpoint, we have conducted studies, including a series of fact-finding missions in the fields, on the needs of the people of Iraq and the security situations in Iraq amongst others, and have decided on the Basic Plan. The personnel dispatched under this Basic Plan will mainly be engaged in helping the people of Iraq reconstruct and rebuild their own country.

There are some who do not wish for the reconstruction of Iraq or for the establishment of a free and democratic Iraq by the men and women of Iraq. It is extremely important that the international community resolutely counter such attempts to throw Iraq into disarray on the one hand, and implement necessary reconstruction assistance, improving the present circumstances of communities and livings in Iraq which would otherwise generate terrorism on the other hand.

The Self-Defense Forces that work for the reconstruction assistance will not use force. There is no organization other than the self-sustained Self-Defense Forces that can make use of its organization to continue effective humanitarian and reconstruction assistance. We will dispatch the first-class personnel who follow the orders with strong sense of mission and is voluntarily resolved to be there. I am convinced that they will successfully accomplish their missions, showing what they have achieved in their days of training. We are also planning to send the civilians with knowledge and experience as experts, high ability and strong will as the Support Personnel for the Reconstruction of Iraq.

When dispatching these personnel on mission, the Government will make utmost efforts, such as analyzing the relevant information of local security situations as well as sufficiently preparing for and carefully paying attention to the implementation of each and every activities.

The Government will also further strive for thorough counter-terrorism measures, and leave no stone unturned to ensure the safety of the people of Japan.

We must not forget the regrettable loss of Ambassador Oku and First Secretary Inoue, who fell victim to villainy, leaving their families bereaved in their prime. Let us advance together with the international community in our assistance to the reconstruction of Iraq and the people of Iraq. Such efforts will indeed lead the world to peace and stability.

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

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