Representatives of two nongovernmental organizations on Wednesday submitted petitions bearing more than 15,000 signatures to the Foreign Ministry, urging the government to oppose the use of military force against Iraq.

The two Tokyo-based NGO networks — No-War Net Japan and the Japan NGO Center for International Cooperation (JANIC) — said a more peaceful approach should be taken, in line with Japan’s war-renouncing Constitution.

The U.S. and Britain are gearing up for a likely attack on Iraq, alleging the country has not scrapped its weapons of mass destruction, thereby violating a U.N. resolution.

Japan has not officially come out in favor of a U.S.-led military strike on Iraq but has signaled support.

No-War Net alone collected some 13,700 signatures of and the backing of 149 groups.

JANIC collected some 1,400 signatures and the endorsement of 72 groups.

Maki Sato, of the Japan International Volunteer Center, said children should not die for the sake of eliminating Iraq’s alleged weapons of mass destruction. She made the comment to reporters before submitting the petitions.

The center is part of No-War Net Japan and also collaborates with JANIC.

Sato, who visited Iraq in February, also said some children there cannot attend school because their families face financial difficulties, while others suffer malnutrition.

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