[Note: The following, originally published in The Asahi Shimbun section of The International Herald Tribune/Asahi Shimbun, September 26, 2001, is reproduced here with The Asahi Shimbun's permission.]

A Worldwide Coalition Against Terror Howard H. Baker, Jr. U.S. Ambassador to Japan

Since the unprovoked attacks on Americans and others on Sept. 11 in New York and Washington - these attacks resulted in all likelihood in a greater loss of American lives than on any single day since the Civil War almost 150 years ago-- there is a new resolve in my country to defend our nation and our values.

As President Bush has indicated, we will do so. "War has been declared on us," he said.

No citizen of the world can feel as safe now as he or she did before the attack. The threat of terrorism knows no borders. Citizens of 78 nations so far are known to be lost, wounded or missing in these attacks. Innocent people have been murdered by terrorists, and there is a rising tide of fear in the world that threatens not only public safety, but also the very foundations of civil society.

It is time to decide. It is time to choose. It is time to act.

This is one of those rare moments in history that changes the way people think. It has produced a new consensus for action, an unprecedented willingness to confront a long festering threat to the peace of the world. At this hour of sorrow in the United States, the spirit of the American people has been buoyed not only by the outpouring of empathy from ordinary citizens all over the world -- including many of the Islamic faith - but also by concrete gestures of support from many governments and regional and international organizations.

Just in the two weeks since the attack, as Secretary of State Colin Powell has indicated, the United States has received encouraging support from the U.N. Security Council and General Assembly, the Group of Eight, the Organization of Islamic Conference, the European Union, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and many other groups. We have also received pledges of sympathy and support from our allies around the world, including messages of condolence from 197 countries and entities, 59 offers of disaster assistance, and 44 multilateral declarations of support. We hope this is the beginning of an unprecedented worldwide commitment to fighting terrorists no matter whom they target, no matter what cause they profess, no matter where they hide.

President Bush has warmly welcomed the Japanese government's Sept. 19 announcement of concrete measures in the campaign against international terrorism. Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi announced a seven-point package of actions to support the U.S. and international response to these terrorist attacks in New York and Washington. These steps include measures involving Japan's Self-Defense Forces, expanded security for U.S. forces and facilities in Japan, humanitarian assistance to affected countries and displaced persons, measures to support the world economy, and strengthened international cooperation in sharing information and immigration control.

We look forward to working with Japan as it implements its program.

The United States also appreciates the $10 million (1.15 billion yen) in emergency relief funds donated by the government of Japan to assist those affected by the Sept. 11 attacks. Japan's actions demonstrate its commitment in the fight to eradicate international terrorism and its compassion and sympathy for the victims of terrorism in the United States, which included many Japanese nationals.

In the coming days and weeks, my government will move aggressively and with deliberate speed to assemble a new international coalition against terrorism not only to punish those responsible - and those who harbor them - for the carnage wrought in New York and Washington, but also those involved in planning and coordinating future acts of terrorism that could threaten anyone in any part of the world.

No one should doubt the difficulty of the task ahead and how long it will take. This will be a war that will not be won in weeks or months. It will be a long, difficult struggle - year in and year out. Our objective is total victory. Terrorists have long threatened the body politic, but in this era of modern communications and weapons of mass destruction they pose a new and frightening peril that must no longer be minimized or ignored.

In this effort the United States asks for the support of all governments of goodwill from all corners of the planet. Most of all, we ask for the support of ordinary men and women everywhere. In the short space of a few minutes, the lives of thousands of innocent people were ended. In tribute to those who lost their lives, we ask you to join with us to ensure that what happened two weeks ago never happens again - to any people, in any city, in any nation.

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