Most Japanese want to end Iraq war support: Poll
Tokyo, Mar 15: More than two-thirds of Japanese want to end an air force mission backing up U.S.-led military activities in Iraq this summer, when the mandate for the mission expires, a newspaper poll said today.
Sixty-nine percent of those polled said they wanted the troops pulled out, while 75 per cent said the war had been a mistake, the daily Asahi Shimbun said.
Japan withdrew its 600 ground troops from southern Iraq last year after a non-combat reconstruction mission lasting more than two years.
About 200 air force personnel remain in Kuwait, from where they airlift supplies to the U.S. military, but little is reported on their activities in domestic media.
Domestic media have said the government plans to extend air force back-up for its most important security ally for two years from July.
The initial dispatch stretched the boundaries of Japan's U.S.-drafted pacifist constitution and was opposed by much of the Japanese population.
But polls carried out after the ground troops withdrew without firing a shot or suffering casualties found that many later supported former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's decision to send them.
Respondents to the Asahi telephone poll carried out at the weekend were critical of U.S. President George W. Bush's plans to add 21,500 troops to the 140,000 U.S. military personnel in Iraq.
Only 15 per cent of respondents said they believed the move would lead to stability.