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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Japan's SDF Iraq dispatch "not without risk": US general

PLA Daily 2004-01-13

TOKYO, Jan. 12 (Xinhuanet) -- Top US military officer Gen. Richard Myers said Monday that he would not rule out the possibility that Japan's Self-Defense Forces (SDF) could be the target of attacks during their deployment to Iraq to aid in reconstruction efforts there.

"Operations in Iraq are not without risk and it doesn't matter really where you are in the country. There are going to be challenges," Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters in Tokyo.

In a press conference with reporters at the US Embassy in Tokyo,Myers said compared with central Iraq, the security situation in northern and southern parts are "more stable" and have "less conflict".

But given the methods of attacks by supporters of deposed IraqiPresident Saddam Hussein and foreign Islamic extremists against the United Nations and coalition forces, he said, "You can never say that you are free from risk."

The southern Iraqi city of Samawah, where the SDF troops are expected to be deployed, is perceived as being relatively safer than elsewhere in Iraq, where attacks and bombings against US personnel and Iraqis continue.

On how long the US forces will stay in Iraq, he said the UnitedStates will help the Iraqis "as long as it takes" for Iraq to develop into a more normal country.

Suggesting that US troops could remain in Iraq for the long haul, Myers voiced the need to "simultaneously" make progress in many aspects of Iraq's reconstruction, including government process, the economy and infrastructure-building, and security.

Also on Monday, Myers held talks with senior Japanese defense officials, including Adm. Toru Ishikawa, chairman of the Joint Staff Council, with whom he exchanged views about the SDF dispatchand the US forces based in Iraq.

After his Tokyo trip from Sunday to Tuesday, Myers will head toMongolia, China and Australia.



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