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Statement by Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi
The Japanese Cabinet today made a decision to continue the activities of the Self Defense Forces centering on 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.
Activities of the Self Defense Forces such as water supply, medical services as well as rehabilitation and maintenance of schools and other public facilities have restored and enhanced the basic infrastructure for the life of local residents and also contributed to their job creation. The achievement of these activities has been highly appreciated by local residents as well as the Iraq Interim Government and we have received strong requests for the continuation of these activities.
While there are differences among the regions, the security situation in Iraq is still severe and the reconstruction of Iraq is still half way through. We are at a crucial juncture for the stability and reconstruction of Iraq, as the election for the National Assembly, which is a landmark of the political process provided in the United Nations Resolution 1546, is scheduled in January next year. 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 and for the people Iraq. We must steadily promote assistance by carrying out contribution by the personnel of the Self Defense Forces as well as assistance by the Official Development Assistance (ODA) as an inseparable pair.
The international community has been taking a coordinated approach in helping efforts of the Iraqi people. Approximately 30 countries are carrying out diverse assistance of their own choice in the mutlinational force (MNF). Not allowing Iraq to become a hotbed for terrorism but rather reconstructing Iraq as a peace and democratic country has a significant meaning for the stability of the Middle East and further to that of the international community, thereby serving our own national interest.
While we extend the duration of the dispatch of the Self Defense Forces for another year until December 14 next year by taking today's decision, in order to steadily promote such assistance, we also decided to constantly examine in a careful manner relevant factors throughout the period, such as achievement in reconstruction of Iraq, level of progress of the political process, security situation, and state of activities of the MNF, and subsequently the Government will take appropriate measures if necessary.
Although we cannot prejudge the situation, the security situation in Al-Samawah has been relatively stable in comparison with other regions. In continuing activities of the Self Defense Forces, we will take every measure to ensure its security, by continuing to make full efforts in information gathering on local security situation, strengthening 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.