Japan will send troops to Iraq

Japan has completed its fact-finding mission to Iraq, and Tokyo could send troops to join US-led forces in the country before the end of December.

    The Japanese public strongly opposes US actions in Iraq

    Japan's reconnaissance team to Iraq returned home on Thursday, and was expected to report that it was safe enough to send Japanese ground troops to the southern city of Samawa.

      

    A spokesman for the Defence Agency confirmed that a few members of the dozen-strong mission would remain in Kuwait to prepare for the eventual dispatch of troops as liaison officers. This could still take place this year, if conditions allowed.

     

    The Japanese contingent went last week to camp Smitty in the

    suburbs of Samawa, some 270 kilometers (165 miles) southeast of

    Baghdad, where they were guests of a Dutch force with the US-led

    coalition.

     

    They were expected to report that it was safe enough to send

    Japanese ground troops to the city as it is relatively small and

    difficult for intruders or insurgents to infiltrate, news reports

    said.

     

    Public opposition

     

    On Tuesday Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi reiterated his

    pledge Tuesday to send troops to help rebuild Iraq, despite polls

    showing overwhelming public opposition.

     

    But as the insurgency against the US-led occupation forces has

    intensified the government has shied away from fixing a firm date.

     

    Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuo Fukuda said on Thursday the

    government might approve a basic plan to dispatch troops, without

    setting a date.

     

    "We want to send troops as soon as possible. We may dispatch

    troops within this year if the situation allows," he said. 

    SOURCE: AFP


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    FGM: The last cutting season

    FGM: The last cutting season

    Maasai women are spearheading an alternative rite of passage that excludes female genital mutilation.

    'No girl is safe': The mothers ironing their daughters' breasts

    Victims of breast ironing: It felt like 'fire'

    Cameroonian girls are enduring a painful daily procedure with long lasting physical and psychological consequences.

    Could mega-dams kill the mighty River Nile?

    Could mega-dams kill the mighty River Nile?

    For Ethiopia, a new dam holds the promise of much-needed electricity; for Egypt, the fear of a devastating water crisis.