When the war in Iraq began in March last year, many Iraqis living in Japan, just like their compatriots back home, pinned their hopes on the United States being able to oust Saddam Hussein from his iron-fisted, decades-long grip on power.

More than a year later, however, their initial elation over the end of Hussein's regime has apparently been replaced by growing distrust of the U.S. and coalition forces due to the escalation of bloodshed in the country.

An Iraqi resident in Tokyo said one of his friends in Baghdad recently told him the security, economic and political situations were better during the Hussein regime, even though two of his brothers were executed by Hussein's henchmen.