Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi said Monday that Japan, which had expressed support for a U.S.-proposed March 17 deadline for Iraq to disarm or face war, will not help foot the bill for any military action.
"We will not bear the burden of paying for war," Koizumi told reporters. However, he said Japan would cooperate in any reconstruction of Iraq, as it is doing in Afghanistan.
During the 1991 Persian Gulf War, Japan contributed $11 billion to the war effort but did not send troops. Japan's pacifist constitution bans it from military action that is not considered self-defense.
Earlier, Fukushiro Nukaga, deputy secretary-general of Koizumi's Liberal Democratic Party and a former defense minister, said, "Japan can make the most effective contribution in the postwar situation including in the reconstruction of Iraq.
"We have stated our backing" for Washington's position, he added, "and to my knowledge, the U.S. will not ask us to foot the war bill."