Japanese editorial excerpts

Japanese editorial excerpts

TOKYO, June 29 Kyodo

Selected editorial excerpts from the Japanese press:

SUCCESS OF NEW IRAQI GOVT KEY TO GLOBAL SECURITY (The Daily Yomiuri as translated from the Yomiuri Shimbun)

Success — or the lack of it — in rebuilding Iraq will directly influence not only the war-torn country’s own security, but also global peace and stability. Leaders of the newly formed Iraqi interim government and nations around the world would do well to take this truth to heart.

On Monday, the U.S.-led Coalition Provisional Authority transferred sovereignty to the interim government.

The transfer of power took place about 14 months after former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein’s regime was toppled in April 2003. The move marked an important step for the start of the democratic process in Iraq.

The Iraqi interim government has an extremely important role to play in this process. Its greatest task will be to ensure that parliamentary elections take place smoothly in January. To achieve this goal, it is essential for the interim government to closely cooperate with the United Nations, as the global body is expected to play a key role in ensuring stability in Iraq.

In July, the provisional government will hold a national council, to be attended by all political parties, religious sects and tribes in Iraq. At the meeting, about 100 people will be elected to a consultative council and charged with fulfilling the function of a parliament. This is designed to provide the interim government with a high degree of legitimacy.

Still, various challenges lie ahead of the provisional government. Perhaps its first task will be to improve the security situation in the country, which is being shaken by unabated terrorist bombings, attacks and hostage-taking incidents.

The CPA’s decision to move forward the handover of power by two days apparently reflected concerns about terrorist attacks by insurgents. Failure to restore peace and security in Iraq will delay the return of U.N. officials to the country and make it impossible to conduct parliamentary elections.

It is easy to understand what international terrorists, Saddam loyalists and anti-democracy forces are trying to accomplish. Their ambition is to instill a sense of fear in Iraqi leaders and citizens and hinder the political process in the country.

It should be noted, however, that the Iraqis will play right into the hands of the insurgents if they are daunted by terrorist bombings and attacks.

Efforts to foil terrorist attacks will require the envisaged U.S.-led multinational force to play an important role. That force must be complemented by Iraqi troops taking a central role in ensuring the security of their nation. With this in mind, the provisional government should shore up its troops as quickly as possible.

International efforts to help improve security conditions in Iraq and reconstruct the war-torn country are essential to dig the nation out of the ashes. Japan should continue its humanitarian aid for the reconstruction of Iraq through Self-Defense Forces operations in Samawah.

According to an opinion survey, the Iraqis largely support their interim government, believing that it will be able to do them some good. Nothing could be more encouraging for the provisional government, which must work resolutely, but carefully to expedite the political process.

(June 29)

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