They just got a different tool to use than we do: They kill innocent lives to achieve objectives. That's what they do. And they're good. They get on the TV screens and they get people to ask questions about, well, you know, this, that or the other. I mean, they're able to kind of say to people: Don't come and bother us, because we will kill you. Bush - Joint News Conference with Blair - 28 July '06

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Japan agreed Iraq pullout at secret London meeting

kyodo: Japan to pull ground troops out of Iraq within several months

Japan will pull its ground troops out of southern Iraq within the next several months, Assistant Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Kyoji Yanagisawa said Saturday.
This is the first time that a high-ranking Japanese government official has publicly referred to a timeframe for the troops' withdrawal.
Government sources have said that the government had decided to withdraw the Ground Self-Defense Force troops from southern Iraq by the end of May alongside pullouts by the British and Australian forces from the area.
In a speech in Tokyo, Yanagisawa said finding ''the exit from Iraq is this year's biggest theme. At any rate, the GSDF will withdraw within several months.''
On Wednesday, Japan's top government spokesman Shinzo Abe told reporters Tokyo will decide on what to do with the GSDF in the Iraqi city of Samawah in view of the current situation there, including the formations of British and Australian forces and the advancement of the peace process, without mentioning any specific time schedule for the troops' pullout.
Yanagisawa, who is from the Defense Agency, also said Japan needs to have a permanent law to enable the country to dispatch the Self-Defense Forces for overseas missions after their activities in Iraq.
''Japan contributed $1.3 billion at the time of the Persian Gulf War. But it was called 'checkbook' diplomacy and Japan did not receive any recognition'' for its contributions, Yanagisawa said.
''If you call this 'gulf trauma,' I believe Japan has overcome it through the dispatch (of the GSDF) to Iraq,'' he said.
The GSDF troops, around 600 stationed in Samawah to help in reconstruction, will begin to pack up in mid-March, according to the sources.
The sources said diplomats and defense officials from Australia, Britain, Japan and the United States reached basic agreement over the timing of the withdrawals at a secret meeting in London in January. Link