Taro Aso, policy chief of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, indicated Sunday that Japan should support the United States — even in the absence a new U.N. Security Council resolution — should it lead an attack on Iraq.

“In terms of priorities, we have to weigh heavily on the Japan-U.S. security treaty concerning the security of Japan . . . as the United Nations will not protect us,” Aso said in a TV debate with other party leaders.

“It would be better if such a situation could be avoided,” Aso said. “(But) if we have to use force to protect Japan, the Japan-U.S. security treaty will be a very important factor.”

Asked whether Japan should support the U.S. until the end, Aso said: “We can call it support or understanding. . . . It’s a matter of words.”

Aso said that Japan would fall into a “diplomatic crisis” in such a situation. He added that Japan must make its own decisions should the U.S. be poised to withdraw from the U.N. or take unilateral action to attack Iraq without a U.N. resolution authorizing the use of force to disarm Baghdad.

On the Japanese government’s clear stance of support for the U.S., Aso reiterated that Japan has no countermeasures to North Korea’s missiles and that the Japan-U.S. security treaty is the only thing Japan can rely on.

Kamei opposes war

Shizuka Kamei, a senior Liberal Democratic Party official, said Sunday he opposes the use of military force on Iraq at this time, fearing the subsequent spread of terrorism worldwide.

“If an attack from Iraq is imminent, then it is a matter of course. But at this point in time, (attacking Iraq) should not be conducted,” said the former LDP Policy Research Council chairman said on a Fuji TV talk show.

“If the United States uses military force at the wrong time, terrorism can be expected to spread in the world,” Kamei said.

On domestic politics, Kamei reiterated his intent to run in the LDP leadership race scheduled for September.

“If nobody runs (for the post), I will go into service for the country,” Kamei said.

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