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China Nervous About Japan's Military Role in Terror War - 2001-10-30

China's government says Japan should use great care in dispatching troops overseas to support the war against terrorism. The comment follows Tokyo's approval of a new law allowing Japan to dispatch some forces abroad for limited duty without violating its pacifist constitution. There are still strong memories of Japan's World War II atrocities in China and other Asian nations.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Sun Yuxi says the fight against terrorism "is the common task of the international community." He says all relevant parties, apparently including Japan, should help in the battle against terrorism.

But Mr. Sun says memories of Japan's wartime aggression makes Tokyo's neighbors worry whenever Japan's military heads overseas. Mr. Sun says "for historical reasons, Japan should operate its military with caution, and must consider the feelings of Asian neighbors."

Japan's new law, enacted Monday, will allow the nation's naval vessels and troops to help the U.S.-led war against terrorism, as long as they do not go into combat.

Tokyo's forces can transport weapons and ammunition, conduct search-and-rescue missions, and send medical help.

Washington welcomed the change and officials from the two nations are set to meet this week to coordinate their actions.

Japan's pacifist constitution was written by U.S. occupation authorities after Japan's surrender at the end of World War II. It says Japan can not use military force to settle international disputes.