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Tuesday, 3rd February 2009
In General Japan News,

Japan and Iraq sign bilateral agreement

The governments of Japan and Iraq have signed a bilateral agreement aimed at forging closer economic and cultural links between the two nations.

Shinzo Abe, Japan's special envoy to Iraq, sign the agreement with Barham Saleh, Iraq's deputy prime minister.

In a statement, the signatories said: "The declaration opens broad prospects of cooperation between the two countries in the areas of reconstruction infrastructure [...] as well as the activation of cooperation [in] cultural, commercial and educational areas."

Last year, Japanese officials pledged to continue support for the international reconstruction effort in Iraq, even as Japan's aviation mission came to an end.

During the mission, Japan flew more than 800 flights transporting over 46,000 passengers and around 670 tonnes of materials.

Just over half (51 per cent) of those entitled to vote in Iraq turned out at the weeknend for provincial elections.

Key Kurdish provinces and the contested regions of Kirkuk were excluded from the vote due to concerns about separatist sentiments.

Related news stories:
Japan's air defence troops to leave Iraq (30th November 2008)