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Japan agrees with the conclusion of the United Nations inspectors that Iraq has failed to cooperate sufficiently with their probe into its suspected weapons of mass destruction program.

“Judging from the result of the report and previous findings, we believe (Iraq) has not cooperated fully,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuo Fukuda told a news conference Tuesday morning after the inspectors’ report to the U.N. Security Council was made public in New York overnight.

However, Fukuda said the report must be studied further and Japan continues to urge Iraq to clear up suspicions about its development and possession of weapons of mass destruction.

Fukuda declined comment on whether U.N. inspectors should be given more time to conduct their investigations. “It’s up to the Security Council to decide. We’ll wait and see that discussion.”

Foreign Minister Yoriko Kawaguchi, in a separate news conference, said the period of time inspectors should be allowed depends on how much Iraq actively cooperates in the process.

Japan remains silent about whether it supports a threatened U.S.-led war on Iraq. Government sources said Japan hopes war can be avoided, but they couldn’t clarify its position at this stage because it will not directly participate in the military action because of the war-renouncing Constitution, and because it is not a member of the U.N. Security Council.

Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi told reporters Tuesday that Iraq has a responsibility to comply further with international calls for abandoning its weapons program. He has repeatedly said international coordination is necessary but has never come out on whether he supports or opposes a war.

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