Vice Foreign Minister Yukio Takeuchi on Monday denied an allegation that the former Japanese ambassador to Lebanon was fired because he opposed Japan’s support of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.

“It is not true” the ambassador was fired because his views were different from the Foreign Ministry’s policy, Takeuchi told a regular news conference.

Naoto Amaki, who was ambassador to Lebanon until August, has said he was told to retire because opinions he presented to the ministry before and after the war were contrary to ministry policy.

Takeuchi said ambassadors are usually asked to present their opinions to the ministry when compiling policies. An ambassador would not be asked to retire for presenting an opinion that differed from ministry policy, he said.

Ministry officials have said the ministry only suggested that Amaki voluntarily retire because his term in the Lebanon post was coming to an end. The suggestion was also in line with ministry reforms being promoted after recent power-abuse and money scandals, they have said.

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