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Speeches and Statements by Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi

(Provisional Translation)

Prime Minister Koizumi's Report on Japan's Measures in Response to the Situation following the Use of Force against Iraq

Plenary Session of the House of Representatives
Plenary Session of the House of Councilors

March 20, 2003

  1. I would like to hereby clarify the basic position of the Government of Japan on the issue of Iraq and to seek for your understanding and support.

  2. Several hours ago, coalition forces led by the United States commenced military action against Iraq as the final means of eliminating the threat it poses to the peace and security of the international community.

  3. Iraq was given the final chance to dismantle its weapons of mass destruction by the international community under the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1441, unanimously adopted in November 2002. Including the dispatch of my Special Envoys to Iraq, I have taken repeated steps to call upon Iraq to choose the way to peace through active and unconditional cooperation with the United Nations Weapons Inspection Team. The international community has united to strongly call upon Iraq for full cooperation. This is because it is clear that only Iraq holds the key to peace. It was extremely unfortunate, however, that Iraq has not responded to the earnest efforts on the part of the international community, and through its own actions, has closed off the way to peace.

  4. Up to now, Saddam Hussein has used unlawful and cruel chemical weapons against neighboring countries, and surprisingly even against the people of his own nation. Thirteen years ago Iraq launched a sudden invasion of Kuwait and declared its annexation. The international community severely censured the atrocities committed by Iraq in violation of international law, and rectified this situation through the use of force by many countries. In the ceasefire that completed those hostilities, Iraq promised to dismantle the weapons of mass destruction that threatens peace and stability of the region. It is vital that confirmation be made that this promise has been fully implemented and that Iraq has dismantled all of its weapons of mass destruction. Only when that occurs will it be possible to secure the peace and security of this region. However, Iraq would not comply with this.

  5. Weapons of mass destruction are terrible weapons which indiscriminately kill and maim civilians in large numbers. We must seriously consider the situation in which such inhumane weapons are in the hands of a dictator who repress his own people. In particular, since the series of terrorist attacks that took place on September 11 2001, the international community has become keenly aware of the horror of nuclear materials, biological weapons and chemical weapons falling into the hands of terrorists. In the world today, the question of whether you posses weapons of mass destruction or not is not something that could be left unanswered. This by no means is a problem foreign to the Asian region, in which Japan is situated.

  6. Iraq has not provided a sufficient explanation to the international community as to whether or not it has dismantled the weapons of mass destruction that it once possessed and used. It is said that Iraq possessed chemical weapons such as VX gas and mustard gas, as well as biological weapons including anthrax and botulinum toxins, capable of murdering and maiming hundreds of millions of people. However, Iraq has not provided a sufficient explanation on the whereabouts of such horrible weapons and has not come up with a sincere response to the international community.

  7. The international community has adopted 17 United Nations Security Council resolutions and has stood united in trying to persuade Iraq. However, in the course of 12 years, Iraq has repeatedly violated United Nations Security Council resolutions. This is a challenge by Iraq to the United Nations and amounts to contempt for the authority of the United Nations. Under such circumstances, I have stressed in person to President Bush of the United States, President Chirac of France and leaders of other countries concerned, that the United Nations Security Council must act in unity and fulfill its responsibility for the peace and security of the world. It is regrettable that ultimately a common view could not be reached in the Security Council and that it could not stand united. Nevertheless, we must never overlook the fact that despite being given repeated opportunities for a peaceful solution, Iraq made no effort to seize such opportunities and repeatedly violated the Security Council resolutions. We cannot leave this problem unresolved forever. As we could not find any methods or prospects for fundamentally changing the Iraqi response, the decision on the use of force was, in my view, a decision that had to be made.

  8. The United States now stands at the forefront of the international movement to dismantle such weapons of mass destruction. The United States is an irreplaceable ally of Japan and provides a vital deterrence that defends the peace and security of our nation. The United States also plays an indispensable role in securing the peace and security of the Asian region surrounding Japan. At a time when the United States is about to make tremendous sacrifice for the great cause of the international community, it is Japan's duty, and is all too natural, that Japan should provide support as much as it can.

  9. In no situation is it easy to make a decision to support use of force. It goes without saying that the best way possible would be for the weapons of mass destruction to be dismantled without an armed conflict. However, in a situation where that is impossible, I have come to the conclusion that as a responsible member of the international community, it is in accordance with our national interest to support the actions taken by the United States and its coalition partners.

  10. In response to the recent turn of events, the Government of Japan convened a national Security Council meeting and promptly decided upon the Action Guidelines for measures that require immediate attention, followed by an extraordinary Cabinet Meeting deciding upon the Action Guidelines for measures to be considered while closely watching the development of the situation. At the same time, a Policy Measures Headquarters on the Problem of Iraq was established in the Cabinet and based on the Action Guidelines above, the Government has decided to act in unity to boldly advance comprehensive and effective emergency measures.

  11. The Government of Japan will take every possible measure to ensure the safety of Japanese nationals in Iraq and its surrounding areas. Furthermore, the Government will enhance and thoroughly implement security measures at home, including protection of key facilities, facilities of U.S. Forces in Japan, and diplomatic establishments. Furthermore, the Government will take necessary measures to ensure the safety of navigation of vessels of Japanese affiliation.

  12. In order to prevent confusion in economic systems in the world and in Japan, including the oil supply, the Government will, responding to changing situations, and in cooperation with relevant countries, take appropriate measures. Towards that end, we will monitor market trends and the supply situation of oil and other commodities, as well as trends in the financial and security markets. In addition, the Government will continue to cooperate with relevant countries and as necessary will take appropriate measures to secure a stable supply of oil. Furthermore, the Government will make efforts to stabilize foreign currency markets, secure the stability of financial systems and secure domestic liquidity.

  13. In order to help the affected population stemming from the present use of force, the Government will provide emergency humanitarian assistance, through international organizations and non-governmental organizations, and through such activities as transport of humanitarian supplies by Self Defense Forces aircraft based on the International Peace Cooperation Law for the neighboring countries.

  14. Based on the recognition that the restoration of peace and stability in Iraq and the surrounding regions is also important for Japan the Government intends to take active measures to cope with this situation.
    The Government will consider the following measures, while closely watching the development of the situation. First, the Government will provide assistance to countries neighboring Iraq that are economically affected by the military action, in order to mitigate its impacts. Second, the Government will take necessary measures for disposal of weapons of mass destruction, for disposal of mines at sea, and for rehabilitation, reconstruction as well as humanitarian assistance in Iraq.

    Furthermore, apart from these measures, the Government will also continue and strengthen its support, according to the provisions of the Anti-Terrorism Special Measures Law, to military and other activities of its partners engaging in the fight against terrorism in Afghanistan and other areas.

  15. It is my heartfelt hope that the combat can be concluded at the earliest possible time in a manner that removes the threat posed by Iraq to the international community. At the same time, I would also like to make it clear here that Japan intends to provide assistance as much as it can for the rehabilitation and reconstruction of Iraq, so that as soon as possible Iraq can be rebuilt and its people can live in a free and prosperous society.

  16. Peace and stability in the Middle East region is a matter of significance to Japan directly linked to its peace and prosperity. In addition to contributing to the recovery of peace and stability in Iraq and the surrounding region, Japan will continue its earnest efforts to resolve the Middle East Peace problem. Furthermore, Japan intends to continue and enhance its dialogue with the world of Islam with its history and civilization from time immemorial, and intends to further advance wide-ranging exchanges and promote mutual understanding.

  17. I would like to sincerely ask the people of Japan for their understanding and support for the position of the Government I have shared with you just now.