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Thursday, 11th September 2008
In General Japan News,

Iraq role 'could end' this year

Japan could withdraw its last military contingent from Iraq by the end of the year, it has emerged.

The country's Air Self-Defence Force has been supporting coalition forces since 2006 by airlifting troops and materials.

Masahiko Komura, Japan's foreign minister, is due to discuss an official schedule for bringing the military mission to an end, reported CNN.

Defence minister Yoshimasa Hayashi told the Kyodo news agency: "The political and security situations have improved."

The Japanese Navy has been involved in refuelling missions in and around Afghanistan and has taken part in anti-terrorist operations in the Indian Ocean since 2001.

Half a century of official pacifism came to an end in 2003 when the Japanese parliament approved the largest deployment of troops since the end of the war in 1945. The legislation was passed despite a no-confidence motion and a late-night filibuster in the legislature.

Related news stories:
Japan's air defence troops to leave Iraq (30th November 2008)
Japan and Iraq sign bilateral agreement (3rd February 2009)