• Kyodo

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Japan will independently determine its response policies in the event of a U.S. attack on Iraq, Japanese Ambassador to the United States Ryozo Kato said Wednesday.

“The weapons of mass destruction issue is serious and Japan must also tackle it in earnest, but Japan will independently decide what to do depending on the situation,” Kato said at a news conference. “(U.S. President George W. Bush) has not made clear a specific course of action against Iraq and has not decided on one.”

White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer said the vote on a congressional resolution approving military action against Iraq, similar to one passed for the 1991 Persian Gulf War, is expected to be held before the Nov. 5 congressional election.

“The president is confident that when this goes to a vote, at the appropriate time, that the vote will be a yes vote,” Fleischer said, noting Congress is in accord on ousting Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.

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