Japan extends Iraq mission

The cabinet approves two more years of air support for troops in Iraq.

    The Iraq mission is part of Japan's bid to
    boost its international profile [EPA]
    Japan, a close Washington ally, backed the US-led invasion of Iraq and provided ground troops for a non-combat, humanitarian mission in the southern Iraqi city of Samawah in 2004.
    It withdrew ground troops in July 2006, and has since expanded its Kuwait-based air operations.
    The Iraq mission is part of Japan's bid to boost its international profile.
    In October, Tokyo approved a one-year extension of its naval mission in the Indian ocean to support US-led troops in Afghanistan.
    Critics say the operations violated the country's pacifist constitution which prohibits the use of force in settling international disputes.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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