The Japanese Foreign Ministry expressed concern on Monday over the large number of casualties among demonstrators during large-scale protests in the Iraqi capital Baghdad and in the central and southern parts of the country.
"Japan calls on all parties to exercise utmost restraint to minimize further casualties and will continue to monitor the situation closely," ministry spokesman Masato Utaka said in a statement received by Twilight News.
"Japan expects that Iraq, as a cornerstone of peace and stability in the Middle East, will bypass the current situation in a peaceful manner," he said.
"Japan strongly hopes that the government of Iraq will respond to the aspirations of the Iraqi people as expressed by the current demonstrations, and make reforms quickly in a way that is highly trusted and will bring stability and development to the country," Otka said.
Earlier in the day, the United States urged Iraqi authorities to hold early elections and electoral reforms, calling for an end to violence against demonstrators that has left hundreds dead.
The White House said in a statement today that Washington wants the "Iraqi government to stop violence against protesters and fulfill the promise of President Barham Saleh to adopt electoral reform and hold early elections."
"The United States is deeply concerned about the continuing attacks against demonstrators, civilian activists and the media, as well as about restrictions on Internet access in Iraq," it said.
Three demonstrators were killed in southern Iraq yesterday and dozens of people were wounded by security forces who opened fire in the center of the capital. Amnesty International warned of a "bloodbath".
The protests continue to shake the Iraqi authorities, accompanied by bloody violence that resulted since the start of the protests on October 1 (October), killing 319 people, most of them demonstrators, according to an official toll announced yesterday morning, injuring more than 12 thousand.
The Iraqi political blocs agreed on Saturday to put an end to the protests, at a time accused by protesters of loyalty to Iran, which they consider the architect of the political system in the country.
Following this agreement to "return to normal life," the security forces intensified the crackdown on protesters, while the country remains without Internet and therefore without social networking sites for nearly a week.