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I appreciated the critical remarks that Japanese Cabinet ministers recently made about U.S. policy in Iraq, feeling that high-level Japanese officials had finally begun to express their honest opinions. But I was disappointed when the government scrambled to coordinate its views to eliminate any impressions of discord in the Cabinet.

At a Jan. 24 news conference in Tokyo, Defense Minister Fumio Kyuma said “President George W. Bush’s decision to invade Iraq on the assumption that nuclear weapons existed there was a mistake.” In a Feb. 3 lecture in Kyoto, Foreign Minister Taro Aso characterized U.S. military operations in Iraq under former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld as “very naive.”

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