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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Japanese government extends military mission to Iraq by a year

RIA Novosti

10/07/2007 10:07 TOKYO, July 10 (RIA Novosti) - Japan has extended the mission of its military contingent operating in Iraq by a year, the general secretary of the Cabinet said Tuesday.

Yasuhisa Shiozaki said that members of the Japan Self-Defense Forces (JSDF) stationed in Kuwait, from where they airlift supplies into Iraq, would remain until at least July 31, 2008.

"We have decided to extend the operational plan to continue the uninterrupted and stable provision of supplies being carried out by the self-defense air force," he said.

He said that Japan would continue cooperating with the United Nations and interested powers to rebuild Iraq.

The Japanese parliament earlier extended by two years the validity of a special law permitting the country's military, which is limited by constitutional restrictions, to deploy abroad.

In 2006, Japan withdrew its 600 troops from Iraq, in the country since 2004, and confined its participation in coalition operations to airlifting supplies from Kuwait. Some 210 Japanese personnel and three C-130s currently ensure a continuous flow of materiel into Iraq.

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