Following is a translation of the one-on-one debate in the Diet on April 14 between Japanese Communist Party Executive Committee Chair Shii Kazuo and Prime Minister Koizumi Jun'ichiro:
JCP Executive Committee Chair Shii Kazuo: The whole nation is deeply concerned about the hostage-taking of Japanese citizens in Iraq. I would like to strongly request that the government make every effort to ensure that the three Japanese people held hostage are safe and freed without fail.
I would like to take this occasion to ask this question, Mr. Prime Minister: What do you think of the dramatically worsening situation in Iraq, which has an important bearing on the outcome of the hostage-taking incident?
Hostilities are taking place all over Iraq between the occupation forces and the Iraqi people, centered on Fallujah in central Iraq.
On March 31st, U.S. citizens were massacred in Fallujah. The U.S. forces began campaigning in reprisal. They have been mobilizing U.S. Marines, security forces, and tanks to lay siege to the city and carry out indiscriminate killing of residents using air and ground power. I believe this is the very source of the quick exacerbation of the situation.
Just look at what U.S. forces have done since April 5th. Indiscriminate strikes against residents! They carried out missile attacks on private houses killing a large number of civilians. They dropped big bombs on the compound of a mosque, also causing many casualties. It is reported that they used cluster bombs consisting of a canister that breaks apart to release more than 200 small bombs for indiscriminate killings.
Associated Press has reported that 600 Iraqi civilians have been killed since April 5, mostly women, children, and elderly people.
These attacks are under severe criticism internationally as well as in Iraq. It is serious that even the U.S.-appointed Iraqi Governing Council has issued a statement strongly criticizing these attacks as "a collective punitive action against innocent people". One member after another is resigning from the Governing Council. A Council member stated in protest, "This is genocide," and another said that punitive action is illegal and unacceptable.
This is really a serious question. I think it is impermissible to lay siege to an entire town and direct military forces against the entire townspeople as punitive action on the grounds that there are criminals there.
Mr. Prime Minister, you and I have differences concerning the justification of the Iraq War. However, I urge you to state clearly that the act of war in disregard of international humanitarian law must not be condoned.
Mr. Prime Minister, in the face of the indiscriminate attacks on residents of Fallujah, shouldn't you make clear your disagreement on such attacks and convey it to the U.S. government? Please answer clearly.
Prime Minister Koizumi Jun'ichiro: Regarding combat going on there, I don’t have any idea and capacity enough to state what method is good or is not. However, countries concerned are making efforts to restore security and establish a stable government in Iraq.
There are different groups involved in hostage taking. Not only Japanese nationals but many from other countries, who have nothing to do with the war, have been held hostage by them. I must admit that in Iraq something very regrettable is taking place in terms of combat against these lawless groups. Taking this into consideration, I believe that the need now is to make efforts to get a stable government established as early as possible.
Shii: I didn't get your response to my request that you make clear that you cannot support the lawless acts by the occupation forces.
Also in the effort to end the hostage crisis, it is very important for the Japanese government to stand for reason to make clear its opposition to the occupation forces' lawless action.
Finally, I would like to reiterate our demand that the government immediately end the SDF deployment to Iraq and withdraw all SDF personnel, because the dispatch is associated with cooperation with the U.S. forces in their occupation of Iraq.
(Translated by Japan Press Service)