Japan has no intention of withdrawing its embassy officials in Baghdad despite Spain’s decision to do so in the wake of continuous rebel attacks in Iraq, a Foreign Ministry spokesman said Friday.
“We cannot say that the Japanese Embassy (in Baghdad) is completely safe,” Hatsuhisa Takashima said at a news conference. “(But) Japan is not thinking of evacuating its diplomats.”
The Spanish withdrawal followed the slaying of a Spanish Navy captain in the truck bombing of the United Nations headquarters in Baghdad Aug. 19, and the Oct. 9 killing of a Spanish intelligence official.
The U.N. has also ordered its foreign staff to leave Baghdad after it became the target of two deadly bombings there, in August and October.
Takashima noted, however, that there are areas in Iraq that are considered less dangerous, adding that the government’s planned dispatch of Self-Defense Forces troops to the country is still in the works.
“There are 35 nations that have dispatched troops to date, and the level of danger differs in accordance with the region (where the forces are deployed) and the country (that is sending troops),” he said.
The remark came after Yukio Okamoto, Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi’s top diplomatic adviser, said Wednesday in Baghdad that it is “inevitable” that Japanese personnel will become the target of attacks unless they exit Iraq.
Koizumi emphasized Friday that Tokyo still plans to send SDF troops to help rebuild the country.
“The SDF will do what it is capable of doing. The SDF will fulfill its mission while paying ample heed to safety,” Koizumi said in Sapporo.
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