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Japan PM Would Support US Terrorism Fight With Troops - 2001-09-27

Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi has used an address to a new session of Parliament to push for a law that would allow Japan's defense forces to give logistical support for U.S. military action against terrorism.

Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, just back from a whirlwind visit to the United States, repeated his promise to support the U.S. led fight against terrorism.

When Parliament reconvened Thursday, Mr. Koizumi told lawmakers he was outraged by the devastation he saw in New York and Washington. He says the September 11 terrorist attacks on those two cities have left serious scars and he is determined that Japan will strongly support the United States in its planned response to the terror strikes.

The issue tops the Japanese Parliament's agenda this session. In the coming days, lawmakers will debate legislation to aid the United States efforts. The new law would allow Japan to provide transport and medical help during a U.S. led military campaign against suspected terrorists.

Legislative action is needed because Japan's post World War II constitution restricts Japan's military from any action other than border defense.

Prime Minister Koizumi's three-party coalition is expected to submit a bill next week which would clarify just how far Japan's self defense forces can go to support the United States. Still, passage of the legislation is expected since the Democratic Party, the largest opposition group, has given the bill its support in principle.

Two opinion polls released Wednesday show up to 90 percent of the Japanese public want to help the U.S. military campaign against terrorism.