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Japan to Quit Iraq Crusade

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    Japan announces decision to pullout troops from Iraq crusade TOKYO, June 20 (Xinhua) - Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi announced Tuesday at a press
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 30, 2006
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      Japan announces decision to pullout troops from Iraq crusade

      TOKYO, June 20 (Xinhua) - Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi
      announced Tuesday at a press conference that Japan has decided to
      withdraw the Ground Self-Defense Force troops from Iraq, Kyodo News
      reported. Koizumi talked about the plan on Tuesday morning with
      leaders of the ruling coalition and opposition parties shortly before
      the announcement. He described the Iraq mission as "a chapter has
      been finished," a government source was quoted as saying. Japanese
      Defense Agency Director General Fukushiro Nukaga issued an order to
      withdraw the troops right after the premier left the press conference.

      Japanese government officials indicated that the pullout may begin
      later this month and be completed by the end of July. The move is said
      to be a response to an announcement by Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri
      al-Maliki, who said on Monday that Iraqi forces will take over the
      security task in July in Muthana Province, where the Japanese troops
      have been stationed. However, the Japanese Air Self-Defense Force will
      continue to stay in Iraq to provide assistance to the United Nations'
      reconstruction efforts, Kyodo said. Koizumi said at a press conference
      on Monday that Japan will continue to help the Iraqi people even after
      the ground troops are pulled out. Japan has stationed some 600 Ground
      Self-Defense Forces troops in the southern Iraqi city of Samawah,
      capital of Muthana Province, for a non-combat medical, reconstruction
      and humanitarian mission as part of the U.S.-led multinational force
      since early 2004.

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