JCP Chair Shii calls on Prime Minister Koizumi to decide on immediate SDF withdrawal

April 9, 2004

   Three Japanese civilians were held hostage in Iraq by a group calling itself “Saraya al-Mujahedeen”, which has threatened to execute them unless the Japanese Self-Defense Forces are withdrawn from Iraq.

   It is unpardonable and barbarous to hold civilians hostage and threaten to kill them unless the hostage-takers' demand is met.

   The JCP demands that the Japanese government make every effort to ensure that the three people are safe and released without fail.

   We should also keep in mind that the Japanese hostages could be killed as stated by the hostage takers if the government’s all-out effort to release the three Japanese people ends in failure because it continues to refuse to withdraw SDF troops from Iraq before the deadline imposed by the hostage-takers.  The lives of the three Japanese hinge on government action.

   We absolutely reject the position of regarding that a loss of these Japanese people‘s lives is unavoidable because of action the government takes.

   The government insists that it sees no reason why the SDF have to be withdrawn.  Is there any “justification” in sticking to the continued deployment of the SDF at the cost of the lives of Japanese people?

   Although the government explains that the SDF are in Iraq for “humanitarian assistance”, such assistance has been extended by NGOs and other volunteer groups and individuals from many countries, including Japan.  There has always been a fear that the deployment of the SDF may run a risk of endangering NGO personnel and volunteers in humanitarian assistance activities.

   In fact, the present incident poses a very serious problem that affects the lives of civilians involved in humanitarian assistance.  The government must avoid forsaking the lives of civilians participating in humanitarian assistance to justify the SDF deployment in the name of humanitarian assistance.

   The dramatically worsening situation in Iraq no longer allows the government to continue to repeat its claim that the SDF will not be deployed in combat zones.

   The whole of the Iraqi people are increasing their resistance to the U.S.- and British-led military occupation, and the occupation forces are cracking down on any resistance.  As a result, combat is taking place throughout Iraq, causing a very serious situation.  In Samawah, the SDF came under armed attack, which was believed to be a mortar attack.

   During the parliamentary discussion of the bill to dispatch the SDF to Iraq, the government repeatedly stated, “The SDF will be withdrawn if the non-combat environment, which is the condition for SDF deployment, ceases to exist.”  In light of this statement, the government’s insistence on the continued deployment of the SDF is no longer tenable.

   We must prevent Japanese lives from being compromised by the government's insistence on the continued SDF deployment that lacks justification or rationale.

   The JCP demands that the government make a decision on a prompt withdrawal of the SDF.


The Central Committee of the Japanese Communist Party
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