Kaifu Defends His Gulf Pledge, Ducks Shoes

<i> From Reuters</i>

Embattled Prime Minister Toshiki Kaifu on Wednesday ducked opposition heckling and shoes thrown from the public gallery in Parliament as he defended Japan’s pledge of $9 billion for the U.S.-led allies in the Gulf War.

Opposition Parliament members heckled, groaned and beat on desks with their fists to protest funding that they said could be spent on arms and ammunition.

Two anti-war protesters in the public gallery threw tennis shoes at Kaifu as he stood on the speaker’s podium trying to make himself heard above the din. They missed.

The shoe-throwing underlined growing public outrage over Kaifu’s latest Gulf aid plan.


Last week, Kaifu earmarked the funds for the multinational force fighting Iraq and said Japan would send military planes to the Middle East to help evacuate refugees stranded by the war.