Jiji Press MITO (Jiji Press) — Former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi has said he had never received reports of combat over a Self-Defense Force mission in Iraq while in office.
Recently found daily activity logs of the Iraq mission include the word “sento,” or combat, in several parts, a senior Defense Ministry official said Friday.
Despite its claim that the Iraq mission logs no longer existed, the ministry announced the discovery of the documents earlier this month, giving rise to suspicions of a cover-up.
“There was no report to me that there was combat,” Koizumi told reporters in Mito on Saturday, referring to SDF troops dispatched to Iraq for reconstruction support in 2004-2006 during his tenure.
While in office, Koizumi pledged to limit the activities of SDF troops in Iraq to noncombat areas. But some experts at the time said the SDF mission violated the Constitution’s war-renouncing Article 9 because the whole of Iraq was considered to be in a combat area.
Asked about the definition of noncombat areas, Koizumi at the time answered that the areas were where SDF troops were operating, causing controversy in the Diet.
Koizumi also said on Saturday that it now seems difficult for incumbent Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to win a third term as president of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party in an LDP leadership election this autumn and stay in the prime minister’s post, due to a spate of scandals hitting his administration.Speech