Japan postpones Iraq troop dispatch

Japan has put off its planned dispatch of non-combat troops to Iraq, following Wednesday's bomb attack in southern Iraq that killed 26 people, including 18 Italian policemen.

    Many Japanese oppose Koizumi's troop deployment plan

    A top government spokesman said conditions were not right for the immediate dispatch of troops.

    "There should be a situation where our country's Self-Defence Forces can conduct their activities fully," Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuo Fakuda said on Thursday.

    "But to our regret, the situation is not like that," he added.

    Japan had earlier decided to send troops to Iraq by year-end.

    The escalating attacks on US-led coalition forces in Iraq have put Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi in a bind.

    Though Koizumi agreed to send troops to further cement already strong ties with the US, he risks discontent back home if Japanese troops are to face casualties in Iraq.

    Resolve unchanged

    The chief cabinet secretary however insisted that Japan had not changed mind about helping in Iraq's reconstruction.

    "We have a consistent intention to carry out a reconstruction aid and humanitarian aid as soon as possible," Fakuda said.

    Asked about the timing of a dispatch, he said a decision would be taken only after ascertaining the situation.

    The troop dispatch is controversial in Japan, where many voters opposed the US-led war and whose military have not fired a shot in combat since 1945.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    What obstacles do young women in technology have to overcome to achieve their dreams? Play this retro game to find out.

    Heron Gate mass eviction: 'We never expected this in Canada'

    Hundreds face mass eviction in Canada's capital

    About 150 homes in one of Ottawa's most diverse and affordable communities are expected to be torn down in coming months

    I remember the day … I designed the Nigerian flag

    I remember the day … I designed the Nigerian flag

    In 1959, a year before Nigeria's independence, a 23-year-old student helped colour the country's identity.