• Kyodo


A team of Japanese election observers arrived in Dili on Thursday to help oversee elections in East Timor on Aug. 30.

Yoshinobu Hiraishi, a team member, told Kyodo News the team will visit a number of polling stations to help verify voter identification as well as to examine general preparations prior to voting day.

Akira Takahashi, the team head and a former official of the U.N. mission in East Timor, was happy about returning to East Timor.

“I would like to make sure the election takes place freely and properly,” he said. The team will stay in the U.N.-administered territory until Sept. 2.

East Timor has been under U.N. control almost since the vast majority of East Timorese voted Aug. 30, 1999, to cut all ties with Indonesia. Indonesia invaded the former Portuguese colony in 1975.

Sixteen political parties will contest the Aug. 30 vote for a Constituent Assembly that will design a constitution for East Timor as it prepares for independence, probably next year.

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