Japan defends invasion of Iraq

Japan's government defended the U.S. invasion of Iraq and Tokyo's support for it on Thursday, even though the premise of the attack, claims of hidden Iraqi nuclear, biological and chemical weapons, turned out to be false. "Based on the existing fact that Iraq used weapons of mass destruction and biochemical weapons in the past, Japan had a rational reason to assume that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction," Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Shinzo Abe said. Saddam is known to have used chemical weapons but not biological weapons. Abe's remarks come a day after U.S. President George W. Bush again asserted that his decision to invade Iraq was the right one, while admitting that "much of the intelligence" used to justify the attack turned out to be wrong.

A staunch supporter of U.S. war against Iraq, Japan's government has deployed some 600 Japanese troops in southern Iraq since early 2004 to provide humanitarian support. Tokyo last week extended the troop deployment for one year, defying rising domestic opposition to the mission largely over safety concerns, reports the AP. I.L.

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