16 FEBRUARY 1991, Page 23


Official denial

Sir: I must express surprise over the article ('Unconditional Surrender II, 9 February) written by Mr Murray Sayle. The article as a whole contains thoughtful insights and observations on Japan and its behaviour over the Gulf crisis, which reflect, I be- lieve, Mr Sayle's experience in and under- standing of Japan. However, it erroneously suggests that Prime Minister Kaifu offered $5 billion to Saddam Hussein if he would withdraw from Kuwait. The statement is absolutely groundless. Unfortunately, this portion of the article drew very particular attention in Japan.

The fact is that from the very beginning. Japan has been at the forefront of the world community in its condemnation of Iraq's invasion of Kuwait. As Prime Minis- ter Kaifu met Mr Ramadan, deputy pre- mier of Iraq, on 4 October 1990 in Jordan, Mr Kaifu urged Iraq to withdraw from Kuwait, complying with the UN Security Council resolutions. It is with the same line of thought and belief that the government of Japan supports the multinational forces and their action against Iraq.

It is only after the genuine peace is restored (Iraq's withdrawal is the key factor) that the government of Japan in- tends to contribute positively to, among others, the economic reconstruction for a lasting peace and stability in the region.

Makoto Yamanaka

Director, International Press Division, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Tokyo, Japan