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Home > Media Reiews > News Review Last Updated: 14:53 03/09/2007
News Review #120: April 10, 2003

Japan pledges millions in humanitarian aid for Iraq

Reviewed By Hitoshi URABE

"Japan pledges millions in humanitarian aid for Iraq"
(by Natalie Obiko Pearson, AP) Penn Live


As of this writing, media is reporting that Baghdad has become under control of US and UK forces. It would certainly be a relief for overwhelming majority of people involved, and for people who believe themselves to be involved, to see the gunfire cease.

The article introduced reports that Japan has already committed $100 million to aid the people in Iraq to restore, or to commence, depending on you view, ordinary lives. It also refers to a background of such an action as "because of restrictions on the use of the military in Japan's post World War II constitution and strong opposition to the war among the Japanese public" implying that what Japan could do is, after all, limited to contribute financially.

It is a pity, however, for Prime Minister Koizumi to be recognized, as Japan's involvement in the whole sequence of events is limited only to sending a check. In fact, Japan was one of the very first of countries to support President Bush from the outset, where Mr Koizumi vocally expressed full support of Mr Bush. Not only that, the prime minister himself contacted the heads of states personally to persuade them to be on the side of the US, while instructing the Foreign Minister Kawaguchi to make trips around the world to meet senior officials personally and to convince them to join the team lead by Mr Bush.

In the Gulf War of 1991, Japan was condemned for not contributing at all to the concerted effort upon UN resolution to repel Iraqi forces. Domestically, heated discussion was going on endlessly as to what extent Japan would be able to cooperate under the 'peace' constitution, where opposition was fiercely against taking any part in any way in the event, as the event involved, at the very forefront of the whole picture, a 'military' action. After the war, suddenly recognizing the icy look toward Japan by the international community, Japan hastily assembled an offer of whopping $15 billion (2 trillion yen) to contribute to the cost consumed by the allied forces. Later, when President (papa) Bush publicized a formal acknowledgment to the efforts by concerned parties, Japan was left out from the list of countries, making foreign ministry officials run about frantically for a while.

It seems this time, again, Japan's financial contribution is being expected. It also seems Japan is very willing to pay. It is perhaps a great comfort for Japanese people for it to have avoided taking part in the actual confrontation, where people get hurt physically, and that they are happy if money has provided them with the option to take that position.

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