Committee on International Relations
U.S. House of Representatives
Henry J. Hyde, Chairman

CONTACT: Sam Stratman, (202) 226-7875, January 22, 2004

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For IMMEDIATE Release

Chairman Hyde Praises Japanís Decision

to Send Military Forces to Iraq

(WASHINGTON) - U.S. Rep. Henry J. Hyde, chairman of the House International Relations Committee, today welcomed the decision by the government of Japan to deploy troops in Iraq, and suggested that the arrival of self-defense forces in the Middle East signifies a milestone in Japanís history.

Hydeís comments were made in remarks published in the Congressional Record, the official transcript of Congressional proceedings.

"The United States and Japan have maintained a strong relationship over the past half century, successfully overcoming challenges created by the Cold War, globalization, and now the international campaign against terrorism," Hyde said, adding, "Our alliance has been the key to insuring stability and security in the Asia-Pacific region for decades. Today, I want to recognize Japan's recent outstanding contributions in support of ongoing reconstruction efforts in Iraq and the international campaign against terrorism.

"With this action, Japan has demonstrated recognition of the reality that oceans and geography alone cannot protect free nations from murderous fanaticism," Hyde said, adding, "Japan has recently experienced the pains of terrorism."

"We mourn with Iraqi, American and Japanese families who have felt the loss of loved ones in Iraq, including the families of Mr. Katsuhiko Oku and Mr. Masamori Inoue, who fell victim to a terrorist attack in Iraq on November 29," Hyde stated.

In October, Japanese Foreign Minister Yoriko Kawaguchi announced a $5 billion aid package for the rebuilding of Iraq. "Five billion dollars is a significant contribution by any measure; however, in the context of Japanís current economic challenges, it is a particularly generous pledge. Japanese assistance will go toward power generation, education, water and sanitation, and infrastructure Ė improvements in these areas will lay the critical foundation for future Iraqi development," Hyde said.

"During the past two years, the alliance between the United States and Japan has grown stronger as we have worked to improve our mutual security as part of the international campaign against terrorism and to address the critical issues posed by North Korean nuclear proliferation," Hyde continued. "However, our relationship is based on more than common security interests. It is a reflection of our mutual commitment to democracy and freedom."

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