Alexa

U.S. expresses displeasure over criticism from Japan

U.S. expresses displeasure over criticism from Japan

Washington told Tokyo it is displeased with recent remarks by Japan's defense minister that were critical of the U.S. decision to invade Iraq, a news report said yesterday.
Last Wednesday, Defense Minister Fumio Kyuma told a news conference that U.S. President George W. Bush's decision to invade Iraq "based on an assumption that weapons of mass destruction existed was a mistake."
The proximity of the remarks to Bush's State of the Union address drew complaints through diplomatic channels in Washington, Kyodo News agency said in a Tokyo-datelined story, citing unidentified diplomatic officials.
James Zumwalt, director of the State Department's Office of Japanese Affairs, told a staff member at the Japanese Embassy that the U.S. took the comments "very seriously," Kyodo cited the officials as saying.
U.S. State Department spokesman Kurtis Cooper said Saturday evening in Washington that he was unaware of any such complaint.
Japan's Foreign Ministry officials could not be reached for comment yesterday.
Kyuma made the comments hours after Bush implored the U.S. Congress in his annual State of the Union Address to back his unpopular plan to send more U.S. troops to Iraq, saying it represents the best chance in a war America must not lose.
Japan - Washington's closest Asian ally - backed the invasion, and in the aftermath of his remarks, Kyuma has sought to distance himself from them under intense pressure from Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's government.
On Saturday, Kyuma reportedly made comments criticizing the U.S. stance toward Okinawa over the relocation of a U.S. Marine Corps air base n the southern Japanese island, saying Washington did not understand the need to consult with Okinawa in finalizing the plan.
The plan to move Futenma airstrip in Okinawa is part of the agreement Tokyo and Washington finalized last May to realign the 50,000 U.S. forces that have been stationed in Japan since World War II.