- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 13, 2004


Defense Agency plans for attack from China

TOKYO — The Defense Agency has drawn up a plan to deploy 7,200 ground troops to Japan’s southernmost islands in the event of a military conflict between China and Taiwan to prevent China from invading them, confidential documents from the agency that were obtained by Kyodo News showed yesterday.

It is the first time that internal agency documents have been found to assume that China might attack Japanese territory. The agency’s Ground Staff Office thinks it is possible that China would invade the remote islands in Okinawa prefecture to block joint support operations for Taiwan by Japan and the United States, according to the documents.

Military experts think that the office is trying to emphasize the importance of the Ground Self-Defense Force in an expected restructuring of Japan’s military. The experts criticize the scenario as unrealistic and a “made-up threat.”


Government to probe Guantanamo conditions

SYDNEY — Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said on public radio yesterday that he would send a government representative in Washington to Cuba to investigate contentions that an Australian held at U.S. Naval Base Guantanamo Bay has been criminally abused under a policy ordered by senior U.S. commanders.

The accusations were made by Australian lawyer Stephen Kenny, who represents David Hicks, 28, an Australian captured in Afghanistan with the Taliban in late 2001. Mr. Kenny said he could not provide details of the abuse suffered by his client because of a confidentiality agreement he signed with U.S. authorities.

But the lawyer said his client “has been treated in a manner which I consider to be abusive, a serious violation of his human rights and which constitutes a criminal offence in international law.” The lawyer said he was not referring to the kind of sexually oriented humiliation and abuse that U.S. guards in Iraq are accused of having inflicted on Iraqi prisoners.


Megawati to ease martial law in Aceh

JAKARTA — Indonesian President Megawati Sukarnoputri plans to downgrade the martial law imposed on the country’s troubled Aceh province a year ago this month to that of civil emergency, effective Wednesday, the government announced yesterday.

“Judging from the results of our evaluation … and the alternatives we have offered, the president feels that it is possible and appropriate to downgrade the status to civil emergency status,” Hari Sabarno, coordinating minister for political and security affairs, told reporters.

Mr. Sabarno said authorities in 11 villages in the province are unable to carry out their duties because of “the rebels’ disturbance,” but that Aceh has about 6,000 villages.

Weekly notes

The leaders of Cambodia’s two largest political parties, responding to King Norodom Sihanouk’s call Tuesday for a meeting in North Korea to iron out difficulties in forming a new government, asked the king for more time. Prime Minister Hun Sen, leader of the Cambodian People’s Party, and rival Prince Norodom Ranariddh of the opposition FUNCINPEC said in the letter that they would resume negotiations on a new government today. … A senior leader of the Roman Catholic Church in the Philippines raised questions yesterday over ballots Monday in his archdiocese after a 100 percent vote for President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. Archbishop Oscar Cruz said he found it “amazing” that all 5,470 voters of the northern town of Santo Tomas had taken the voting advice of their mayor, Antonio Aguilar, who appeared to be “even more powerful than God himself.”

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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