Postwar Iraq will need a heavy American military presence to maintain order, but Japan can also play an important role in providing humanitarian assistance and helping international organizations' efforts to rebuild the country, according to a senior member of a Washington-based think tank.

"Many Japanese have worked for NGOs and international relief organizations, so there will be Japanese people involved, whether they are working for the government or NGOs," said William Breer, Japan chair of the Center for Strategic and International Studies. "That is the kind of thing which will be most helpful."

In a recent interview, Breer, who was visiting Tokyo last week, said the U.S. government greatly appreciates Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's strong moral and diplomatic support.