A team of ruling coalition lawmakers who visited Iraq urged the government Thursday to focus on water purification and transportation of humanitarian aid when helping rebuild the devastated nation.

The Self-Defense Forces may be required to purify water there and transport other goods, including humanitarian aid supplies, by air, according to their report.

Nine lawmakers from the Liberal Democratic Party, New Komeito and the New Conservative Party visited Iraq from June 20 to Wednesday to look into what kind of reconstruction support is needed.

“We have come to believe that Iraq is (now) a noncombat zone,” LDP lawmaker Seiken Sugiura, who headed the team, told a news conference, indicating there is no problem to dispatching the SDF. “But there is still sporadic resistance (by Iraqis).”

Another LDP lawmaker, Yoichi Masuzoe, said the SDF units that are sent there should be heavily armed, saying this would help prevent them from being attacked.

To date, 15 nations, including Australia and South Korea, have dispatched military forces to Iraq to help the reconstruction process, while another 14 have decided to do so, according to the team’s report.

The Diet is currently deliberating a bill that would allow Japan to send SDF personnel to Iraq.

American Paul Bremer, who heads the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq, told the team he intends to establish the Iraqi interim authority in mid-July and appoint ministers by September, according to Sugiura.

Bremer further added he plans to set up a council of several hundred people to draft a new constitution for Iraq and submit it to a national referendum, Sugiura said.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.