Members of the Japan Forum on International Relations, a public-private proposal group, issued an appeal Thursday supporting the U.S. stance on the Iraqi crisis. [Full text of appeal]

The appeal is signed by 39 JFIR members, including Kazuo Aichi, former director general of the Defense Agency; Koji Kakizawa, a former foreign minister; Kenichi Ito, JFIR president; Takashi Imai, JFIR chairman and honorary chairman of the Japan Business Federation; Yuriko Koike, a Lower House member; and Tadae Takubo, professor of international relations at Kyorin University.

The appeal calls on Japan to strengthen the Japan-U.S. alliance and give clear-cut support to the U.S. position. It also urges close cooperation between Japan and the United States in the North Korea crisis.

The forum has made its voice known on several issues. In 2001, it criticized the idea of Moscow returning one small island and a group of islets as a first step toward resolving a dispute regarding four Russian-held islands.

In 1993, in the final stage of the Uruguay Round of the GATT talks, the forum proposed that Japan accept rice imports by eliminating quotas and imposing tariffs.

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