Japan, Germany, France to train Iraq cops

by Sayuri Daimon

Japan will help train fledgling Iraqi police forces jointly with Germany and France, particularly in the area of criminal investigations, and will dispatch a team of experts to Germany in January.

According to the plan disclosed Wednesday by former Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto, the joint project was proposed by French President Jacques Chirac and German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder when Hashimoto met with them separately in Paris and Berlin earlier this month.

Hashimoto visited Britain, France and Germany from Dec. 14 to 18 as Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi’s special envoy to explain Japan’s position on the reconstruction of Iraq.

Under the project, Germany will teach criminal investigation techniques, including fingerprint and footprint identification methods, while France will provide the knowhow to create a police riot squad.

Japan will supply equipment necessary for police activities such as patrol cars and radio transmitters, Hashimoto told The Japan Times in an interview.

As the two European countries and the United States have been sharply divided over the Iraq war, Hashimoto’s mission was to gain support from Paris and Berlin for Japan’s position as a U.S. ally and to seek their participation in ongoing reconstruction efforts in Iraq.

“In terms of bringing France and Germany into the reconstruction effort, it was great that they are the ones that proposed the joint project,” Hashimoto said. “There are many things that the three countries can do together.”

Japan has already pledged $1.5 billion in the current fiscal year for Iraq’s reconstruction, and the necessary funds for the project will be allocated from that account.

As Germany hopes to launch the project in February and train Iraqi police officers in the United Arab Emirates, Japan plans to send its team to discuss local needs with Germany as early as mid-January.

The Japanese team will be headed by Yukio Okamoto, a special foreign policy adviser to Koizumi.