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Tetsuzo Fuyushiba, secretary general of New Komeito, said Sunday his party opposes a U.S.-led attack on Iraq in the absence of a new U.N. resolution authorizing such action.

“We will oppose (an attack without a resolution). We’ve been clearly saying this,” said Fuyushiba, whose party is a member of the tripartite governing coalition, in a TV debate with other party leaders.

He added, however, that even if the council were to pass such a resolution, the attack should not begin immediately.

So far Tokyo has said it would be ideal to have the U.N. Security Council pass a new resolution authorizing a U.S.-led military operation against Iraq if the United States decides to attack.

Fuyushiba stressed the need for the international community to collectively pressure Iraq to abandon its weapons of mass destruction. And despite his own reluctance to support the imminent use of force in Iraq, Fuyushiba harshly criticized opposition by France and Germany to the U.S. and Britain, which are seeking a new resolution on attacking Iraq.

“Those opposing the U.S. when it’s putting pressure (on Iraq) could be wartime collaborators with Iraq,” Fuyushiba said. “The continued inspections is what (Iraqi President Saddam) Hussein would hope for.”

Taku Yamasaki, secretary general of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, told the same TV program that Japan should support possible U.S. military action against Iraq, preferably with a U.N. resolution authorizing it.

Toning down an earlier stand that a U.N. vote was not necessary as long as it had enough evidence that Iraq is developing weapons of mass destruction, Yamasaki said on Sunday, “A U.N. resolution is desirable . . . We will wait until the next report” and support the U.S. accordingly.

“Japan needs a peaceful resolution to the problem,” he added, without further elaboration.

Meanwhile, appearing on another TV program, former Prime Minister Kiichi Miyazawa also said Japan should not support the U.S. if it launches a military attack on Iraq without a U.N. resolution.

In case of a U.S.-led military attack backed by a U.N. resolution, Miyazawa said that Japan’s cooperation should be limited to assisting refugees and helping Iraq rebuild.

Japan should avoid logistic support in and around Iraq that may be considered part of military operations, he said.

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