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Junko Takahashi

For Junko Takahashi's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:

Jan 1, 2004

SDF dispatch decision like a double-edged sword

When Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi voiced his unequivocal support of the U.S.-led war on Iraq in March, he was left with little choice but to commit Self-Defense Forces troops to the country’s postwar reconstruction effort. The Diet then passed a special law in July ...

Dec 26, 2003

Pyongyang offers to free abductees' kin -- but there's a catch

North Korean officials told Japanese lawmakers that Pyongyang is ready to send the family members of the five former Japanese abductees to Japan if they go to the Pyongyang airport to meet them, Liberal Democratic Party lawmaker Katsuei Hirasawa said Thursday. The Japanese lawmakers ...

Dec 19, 2003

Arms exports to U.S. to get nod

Japan is considering a partial lifting of its ban on arms exports so it can sell weapons parts to the United States as it prepares for joint development of a missile-defense system, government officials said Thursday. “It’s an issue to consider in the future,” ...

Japanese Embassy in Baghdad issues alert

Dec 18, 2003

Japanese Embassy in Baghdad issues alert

The Japanese Embassy in Baghdad has asked Japanese nationals to refrain from visiting it for the time being after receiving threats of attack, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuo Fukuda said Wednesday. But he added that the threats were not specifically terrorist-related. “(The information received) was ...

Dec 16, 2003

Japan pleased but still wary of security situation

Japan welcomes the much-awaited capture of former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, but the local security situation still needs careful assessment ahead of any dispatch of Self-Defense Forces elements, top government officials said Monday. “It’s good news,” Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi told reporters when asked ...

Dec 11, 2003

Mixed signals sent on SDF Iraq duties

The government is giving unclear explanations about when Self-Defense Forces troops will be sent to Iraq and whether they will transport arms and ammunition for other forces in the U.S.-led coalition. “I believe we have a situation where we can send” both aircraft and ...

Dec 10, 2003

Cabinet approves plan to send SDF to Iraq

The government Tuesday approved a basic plan to dispatch Self-Defense Forces units to Iraq, paving the way for the deployment of up to 600 ground troops in southeastern Iraq early next year. The plan, endorsed at a Cabinet meeting in the afternoon, stipulates that ...

Dec 3, 2003

Koizumi again pledges to dispatch troops

Japan will overcome last weekend’s slaying of two Foreign Ministry diplomats in northern Iraq and send Self-Defense Forces troops to the country when the time is appropriate, Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi vowed Tuesday. In a speech in Tokyo, Koizumi said Japan suffered a tremendous ...

Diplomat deaths may stall approval of SDF dispatch

Dec 2, 2003

Diplomat deaths may stall approval of SDF dispatch

Cabinet approval of a plan to dispatch Self-Defense Forces units to Iraq will probably be delayed until next week at the earliest, in the wake of the fatal ambush Saturday of two Japanese diplomats. The government had considered endorsing the plan at a Cabinet ...

Nov 27, 2003

SDF said going to Iraq despite security threat

Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi renewed his pledge Wednesday to dispatch Self-Defense Forces units to Iraq even if the security situation is not completely stable. During a session of the House of Councilors Budget Committee, Koizumi said Japan’s commitment toward the reconstruction of Iraq is ...