Japan Roiled by Attack on Diplomats
Despite the tough rhetoric about standing his ground by Japanese PM Junichiro Koizumi, opposition parties and other observers are bringing sharply into question the deployment of Japanese Self-Defense Forces in Iraq in the wake of the ambush of two Japanese diplomats on Saturday. According to Asahi Shimbun Katsuya Okada, secretary-general of Minshuto (Democratic Party of Japan), said, “We would like to question the responsibility of the government for its lack of safety measures and call for the summoning of related committees to deliberate the matter and clarify the facts before the public.” (In Japanese terms, I take it this is a real slam at Koizumi).
A Ground Self-Defense Force official added, “Until the details of the attack are made clear, maybe we should not rush on the dispatch.” There are fears that Japanese embassy communications were somehow monitored by the Iraqi guerrillas.
The attack knocked Koizumi’s special diplomatic adviser, Yukio Okamoto, out of a trip to Baghdad. He had to scale back his journey to only Iran and Syria. He said of the slain diplomats, “The two were irreplaceable partners for me.”